Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
Thibault Camus  /  AP
French President's wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is seen prior to a television interview in Paris
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."

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.

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