Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have named their baby daughter Guilia, the Italian spelling of the popular European name.

"/> Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have named their baby daughter Guilia, the Italian spelling of the popular European name.

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Bruni-Sarkozy daughter to be called Giulia

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have named their baby daughter Guilia, the Italian spelling of the popular European name.

Bruni-Sarkozy daughter to be called Giulia

The name was announced by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on her official webstie on Thursday afternoon and confirmed earlier media speculation over the choice.

According to the French daily Le Figaro, the Sarkozys favoured the name as it can work in French, Italian and Hungarian – representing the new-born child’s familial roots.

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday described his “profound but private joy” at the birth of his daughter after visiting his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and the newborn at a Paris clinic.

The baby girl was born late on Wednesday, and the president — who missed the birth to attend talks in Germany on the eurozone crisis — dropped in before midnight and then again for 50 minutes on Thursday morning.

“We have been lucky enough to find great happiness. All the parents here understand our very profound joy, a joy all the deeper because it is private,” Sarkozy said later on a factory visit in the western Mayenne region.

The first couple had decided not to officially announce the birth, but the president reacted warmly when waste-processing plant workers gave him gifts.

“Oh, that’s really kind, very thoughtful,” he smiled, telling workers who asked after his wife and child: “They’re doing really well.”

Asked what the child would be called, Sarkozy said: “We’re going to let Mum have the pleasure of revealing that.”

Sarkozy continues to have a full political schedule, battling to rescue the economy and his own hopes of re-election.

With seven months to go, Thursday’s latest BVA opinion poll predicted his political career will be buried in a Socialist landslide, with opponent Francois Hollande beating him by 64 to 36 percent in a second-round run-off.

Asked whether the birth would influence the election, with perhaps a “baby bump” in Sarkozy’s polling numbers, Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said: “In any event, it will have an impact on Nicolas Sarkozy. He’s very happy”.

“A president comfortable in his skin, clear in his head and in his life, is a gift for the country,” he added, speaking to the i-Tele news network.

Bruni, a 43-year-old Italian-born heiress turned supermodel turned singer, was famous even before she married Sarkozy in early 2008 after a whirlwind romance, and the birth made headlines around the world.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warmly congratulated Sarkozy. “I wish with all my heart for your baby girl to grow up healthy and happy and to please her parents with her success,” Putin wrote.

But in France itself, where the public is accustomed to politicians’ private lives staying private, the event was accorded a more muted reception, with some newspapers barely covering it at all.

In less than five years, Sarkozy has become the first president of France’s modern Fifth Republic to divorce while in the Elysee, the first to remarry and now the first to have a child.

In 2007 when his relationship with his second wife Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz broke down and he quickly took up with the glamorous Carla, voters were turned off by the very public display of his romantic adventures.

The lovers allowed themselves to be photographed with their children on luxury foreign holidays, reinforcing Sarkozy’s growing reputation as a showy friend of the super-rich, out of touch with French life.

Sarkozy seems to have learned the lesson of that period, and has been extremely discreet about the pregnancy. Both the president and first lady have said they will not parade the child for photographers

The left-wing Liberation newspaper only mentioned the birth in a brief page 14 story. Others gave it more prominence but it was far from a national event, drowned out by financial crisis and the death of a French hostage in Somalia.

The Elysee never announced the pregnancy officially, but carefully outed Bruni as pregnant by allowing her to appear with a visible bump at an event to welcome fellow first ladies to the G8 summit in Deauville in May.

She has since given a handful of interviews, but always been careful to insist that her family life with Sarkozy has no bearing on his presidency.

Bruni has a 10-year-old son from a previous relationship and thrice-married Sarkozy has three sons aged between 14 and 26.

Bruni has said she will continue working on her singing career after the birth, and Sarkozy seems unlikely to take France’s two-week paternity leave.

He left Bruni’s side just before the birth to go to Frankfurt to seek a deal with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to reinforce a eurozone bail-out fund and protect French banks from an eventual Greek default.

He arrived for his visit to the clinic on Thursday clutching a sheaf of paperwork, and immediately afterwards resumed his campaign schedule.

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Corruption trial begins for France’s ex president Sarkozy

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy goes on trial on Monday on charges of trying to bribe a judge, in what could be a humiliating postscript to a political career tainted by a litany of legal investigations.

Corruption trial begins for France's ex president Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AFP

Though he is not the first modern head of state in the dock – his predecessor and political mentor Jacques Chirac was convicted of embezzlement – Sarkozy is the first to face corruption charges.

He fought furiously over the past six years to have the case thrown out, and has denounced “a scandal that will go down in history”.

“I am not a crook,” the 65-year-old, whose combative style has made him one of France's most popular rightwing politicians, told BFM TV this month.

Prosecutors say Sarkozy promised the judge a plush job in Monaco in exchange for inside information on an inquiry into claims that Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.

Their case rests in large part on wiretaps of phone conversations between Sarkozy and his longtime lawyer Thierry Herzog, which judges authorised as prosecutors also looked into suspected Libyan financing of Sarkozy's 2007 campaign.

That inquiry is still underway, though Sarkozy caught a break this month when his main accuser, the French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, suddenly retracted his claim of delivering millions of euros in cash from Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Sarkozy and Herzog have assailed the taps on their phones as a breach of client-attorney privilege, but in 2016 a top court upheld their use as evidence.

Charged with bribery and influence peddling, Sarkozy risks a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of €1 million.

Herzog, a leading member of the Paris bar, faces the same charges as well as violation of professional secrecy. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

'A boost'

Investigators discovered that Sarkozy used an alias – Paul Bismuth – to buy a private phone for conversing secretly with his lawyer.

On around a dozen occasions, they discussed reaching out to a top French judge, Gilbert Azibert, a general counsel at the Cour de Cassation, France's top appeals court for criminal and civil cases.

Prosecutors say Azibert, who is also on trial, was tasked with trying to obtain information from the Cour de Cassation lawyer in charge of the Bettencourt inquiry, and to induce him to seek a verdict in Sarkozy's favour.

In exchange, Sarkozy would use his extensive contacts to give “a boost” to Azibert's efforts to secure the cushy Monaco post.

“He's been working on it,” Herzog tells Sarkozy in a call from early 2014.
Azibert was already considered a leading candidate for the job, but “if you give him a boost, it's always better,” Herzog says in another.

“I'll make him move up,” Sarkozy tells Herzog, according to the indictment by prosecutors, who compared his actions to those of a “seasoned offender”.

But later, Sarkozy tells his lawyer that he would not “approach” the  Monaco authorities on Azibert's behalf — a sign, according to prosecutors, that the two men had been tipped off about the wiretaps.

“Mr Azibert never got any post in Monaco,” Sarkozy told BFM television this month – though under French law, just an offer or promise can constitute corruption.

Still in limelight

Sarkozy, a lawyer by training, has long accused the French judiciary of waging a vendetta against him, not least because of his attempts to limit judges' powers and criticism that they are too soft on delinquents.

He will again be back in court in March 2021 along with 13 other people over claims of campaign finance violations during his unsuccessful 2012 re-election bid.

Prosecutors accuse Sarkozy's team of using a fake-invoices scheme orchestrated by the public relations firm Bygmalion to spend nearly €43 million on the lavish run – nearly twice the legal limit.

The long-running legal travails hindered his comeback bid for the 2017 presidential vote, losing out as the rightwing nominee to his former prime minister François Fillon.

Yet like other former French presidents, Sarkozy has surfed a wave of popularity since announcing his retirement from politics in 2018, pressing the flesh with enthusiastic crowds at his public appearances.

Lines of fans queued over the summer to have him sign his latest memoirs, “The Time of Storms”, which topped best-seller lists for weeks.

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