Posted December. 27, 2007 03:01,
French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Egypt on December 25 for the first time since his inauguration. Previously, he visited the Vatican on December 20 and made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on December 22 to promise additional forces to dispatch.
The media, however, focused not on the French presidents diplomacy but on the company of his new love, Carla Bruni, a former supermodel. Few reports ran on the agenda for the summit meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak scheduled for December 30.
The media made headlines on the Nicolas-Bruni story, such as Nicolas Sarkozy Visits Pope-Without Carla Bruni; Affairs of State; and Sarkozy Tied to Supermodel Bruni.
It is quite extraordinary. French journalists often are not concerned about politicians love lives. In France, since there are unspoken rules about them, love affairs of former presidents have only been unveiled after a long time has passed.
Sarkozys private life became known to the world when he announced a divorce from his wife Cecilia on October 18; he dated Bruni on December 15 in Disneyland in Paris. It was publicly seen when he accompanied Bruni to the Egyptian city of Luxor to spend the Christmas holidays.
Despite the Egyptian security forces deployed around the town, photographers and paparazzi closed in to take intimate shots of the pair.
France-2 television reported that the French president and his love would stay in a hotel for three days. AFP said that Sarkozy walked hand-in-hand with Bruni entering the hotel, and he draped his arm around her waist while walking along the Nile.
According to the French Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, nine out of ten French did not care at all, thinking that the romance between the two was a private issue.
In contrast, the French daily newspaper Le Parisienne said that the president, who is good at public relations, is taking advantage of his private life for a political breakthrough.
The opposition Socialist Party criticized that Sarkozy is intentionally exposing his privacy like a Hollywood star, and that such things should be separated from public life, even though a president has a right to enjoy an eventful life.
Ségolène Royal, former Socialist Party presidential candidate, was also under fire for using her privacy politically. When she was a presidential candidate, she unveiled pictures of her in a slim bikini. As environment minister, she invited journalists to take her pictures of her taking care of her children against government dossiers spread out across her bed.
New York Times columnist Judith Warner said in her column that as the French do not take politicians private lives into consideration when it comes to evaluating their performance, they maintain a profound philosophical difference that sets them apart from Americans as seen in the case of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But with the introduction of the Internet, protecting their private lives has become impossible.