Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
Thibault Camus  /  AP
French President's wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is seen prior to a television interview in Paris
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updated 5/18/2011 3:19:24 PM ET 2011-05-18T19:19:24

The news that French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is pregnant has met with a fond reaction from one of her predecessors, who said a child at the presidential palace will be a boost for the whole country.

"It's wonderful news to see this baby coming. It's a chance for France, absolutely," Bernadette Chirac, wife of ex-French President Jacques Chirac, told reporters in Paris on Tuesday at an event for a literacy foundation hosted by Bruni-Sarkozy.

"And a birth, it's a wonderful event for a family, the arrival of a child. There is nothing nicer. A baby at the Elysee, yes. It's wonderful for them and for all the French people," Chirac said.

Bruni-Sarkozy, also attending the event, wouldn't respond to questions by The Associated Press about the pregnancy. Sarkozy's office also refused all comment.

Germany's Bild newspaper quoted Pal Sarkozy as saying: "Neither wants to know the gender beforehand, but I'm certain it will be a girl, and beautiful like Carla."

Doldrums
A pregnancy could be a potential strategic coup for Sarkozy, less than a year ahead of presidential elections. The incumbent's popularity is in the doldrums, but a baby in the Elysee Palace could help voters relate to a man they have seen as increasingly out of touch with their worries.

Bruni-Sarkozy and Sarkozy married in early 2008 — less than a year after he took office. She has a son from an earlier relationship, and Sarkozy has three sons from his two previous marriages.

From a wealthy family from the Italian city of Turin, Bruni-Sarkozy had a successful career as a model before becoming a singer-songwriter, known for her soulful lyrics and wispy voice. She's also known for her topsy-turvy romantic life, which included relationships with the likes of Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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