rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

Last updated on: May 16, 2012 10:04 IST

In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

     Next

Next

Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni left the gates of the Champs Elysee on Tuesday after a five year stay that saw the couple make more headlines for wrong reasons.

From sleaze scandals to charity fund bungling to the image of 'President of the rich', Mr and Mrs Sarkozy inspired little confidence in the financial depression-hit French capital.

Now, the 64 million-strong nation is raised its expectations from 57-year-old centre-left moderate Francois Hollande who entered the French presidential palace on Tuesday with his companion Valerie Trierweiler.

Wait! Did you read 'companion'? Yes indeed.

Valerie, a divorced mother of three, is the first presidential partner to enter the Elysee Palace unmarried.

Click on NEXT to read more interesting bits of trivia about France's new power couple...

 


Image: France's newly-elected President Francois Hollande (L) and his companion Valerie Trierweiler kiss as they celebrate
Photographs: Reuters

     Next

In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The news about the political journalist having an affair with Hollande came when the latter separated from the mother of his four children, Segolene Royal, with whom he lived for 30 years.

To recollect, Royal ran as the Socialist Party's nominee for president of France in 2007, seeking to become the first woman to serve in that role. Sarkozy cut short that dream.

Now, she has indicated that she will become president of the French parliament. The job is considered the most prestigious in France after president and prime minister.

On the personal side, Royal and Hollande still have their differences and reportedly, she and Valerie do not see eye to eye.

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Valerie Trierweiler, companion of France's newly-elected President Francois Hollande, arrives on the red carpet in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace for the handover ceremony between Hollande and outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Many were left bewildered when the couple, especially Hollande who is strictly secretive about his personal life, chose to publicly announce their affair.

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, the couple met in 2005 -- a meeting she has described as a 'coup de foudre' (a lightning strike).

She reportedly fell "head over heels" in love with the Socialist leader who at the time had a penchant for ill-fitting suits and heavy-rimmed glasses and was a master of witty one-liners.

At the time Hollande was still with Royal, who was geared up to become the party's presidential candidate in 2007. Hollande left her to be with Valerie when she lost to Sarkozy.

The couple made their relationship public in 2010. Afterwards, Valerie told Elle magazine that Hollande was "the man of my life".

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Francois Hollande (L), Socialist Party candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, and his companion Valerie Trierweiler sit in a car
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Valerie's entry reportedly transformed Hollande. The thick glasses were gone, new suits were in and the extra weight was gone.

According to Vogue magazine, although she shies away from comparisons with US First Lady Michelle Obama, Valerie is happy to take on the responsibilities of her new presidential position and is credited with having helped Hollande secure his election win -- in terms of his image and through frequent political advice.

Her roles models include Hilary Clinton and wife of post-war French Socialist President Danielle Mitterand.

Professionally, her no-nonsense attitude earned her the nickname 'Rottweiler'. The name stuck with her after she slapped a colleague on Paris Match magazine who said something she deemed sexist.

When her own magazine put her on its cover under the headline 'Francois Hollande's charming asset', she tweeted: 'Bravo Paris Match for its sexism ... my thoughts go out to all angry women.'

Former colleagues say she is 'very punchy, very honest and intelligent'. And yes, she tweets!

Click on NEXT to read further...


Image: Valerie Trierweiler
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

In PHOTOS: Meet France's new power couple

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In the meantime, Hollande, according to The Telegraph, is under intense scrutiny to prove that he lives a normal life, particularly as he is likely to have to call for financial sacrifices from the French people.

Born in August 12, 1954 in northern France, Hollande has a shining education background with diplomas of Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and Ecole Nationale d'Administration -- all elite universities in France.

According to Der Speigel magazine, his weakness is that he is basically a technocrat, a numbers man, which frequently gets in his way, both in interviews and in his speeches.

He is effective at delivering emotionally charged speeches and conjuring up France's illustrious past, and the legacies of the French Revolution, the Resistance and socialism

He has promised to erase the budget deficit by 2017, mainly by increasing taxes and capping spending increases at 1 per cent a year, but also pledged to hire 60,000 teachers and slap a 75-per-cent tax on incomes above 1 million euros.

He has already indicated that we would rather live with Valerie in their modest nondescript flat in Paris's 15th Arrondissement (district) with its Ikea furniture than the 370-room Elysee Palace with its private cinema and 900 staff, including white-gloved factotums who set the pendulums on its scores of gold clock.

Valerie, meanwhile, will make her international debut at next weekend's G8 summit at Camp David in the US. There is speculation that the president and the 'love of his live' (as Hollande keeps parroting) might hastily get married this week.

Click on NEXT to go further...


Image: France's new President Francois Hollande (L) and his companion Valerie Trierweiler leave the Elysee Palace after the handover ceremony
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Top photo features of the week

Prev     More

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...



Tags: PHOTO , MORE

Prev     More