Minggu, 06 Januari 2008

Sarkozy to marry girlfriend Bruni: report (AFP)

PARIS (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to marry his new girlfriend, the former model turned singer Carla Bruni, a French newspaper reported Sunday, claiming a wedding was "imminent".

Citing several anonymous sources, the Journal du Dimanche said the couple, currently on a private visit to Jordan at the invitation of King Abdullah II, are believed to have set a wedding date for either February 8 or 9.

Presidential spokesman David Martinon declined to comment on the front-page story.

Sarkozy, 52, and Bruni, 39, were photographed on Saturday touring the rose-red city of Petra in southern Jordan, the president carrying Brunis young son Aurelien on his shoulders.

During a Christmas trip to Egypt, the recently-divorced president reportedly gave Bruni an engagement ring -- a pink diamond heart -- while Bruni gave him a luxury Swiss watch in grey steel.

Sarkozy and Bruni -- heiress to a tyre fortune whose former boyfriends include rock stars Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton -- have been trailed by a swarm of paparazzi since their romance was first publicised in mid-December.

Bruni may accompany Sarkozy on an official trip to India late this month, according to local media, which said the government of the morally conservative country was struggling to find the right protocol to greet her.

The French president and his second wife Cecilia announced their divorce in October after 11 years of a tumultuous marriage. Sarkozy has a 10-year-old son with Cecilia, as well two grown sons from a previous marriage.

Brunis mother Marisa Tedeschi Bruni was quoted in the Italian press last month saying the president had asked for her daughters hand in marriage.

Sarkozy, who has yet to comment publicly on his new relationship, is to answer questions on the subject at a New Years press conference Tuesday, as a poll showed his confidence rating slipping seven points -- a drop blamed in part on voter concerns about his relationship.

According to a CSA poll in Le Parisien, 48 percent of voters say they trust the president to tackle Frances problems, compared to 55 percent last month. Forty-five percent said they did not trust him, compared to 38 a month before.

CSA director Stephane Rozes said the slip chiefly reflected fears about the economy, and falling disposable incomes, but probably also unease among older voters -- he fell 15 percent among the over-60s -- about his highly-publicised romance.

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