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Hollande, first lady Trierweiler break up

By Agencies in Paris | China Daily | Updated: 2014-01-27 08:26

French President Francois Hollande announced his separation from first lady Valerie Trierweiler on Saturday, following a media storm over allegations he is having an affair with an actress.

"I wish to make it known that I have ended my partnership with Valerie Trierweiler," he told AFP.

The announcement came after a day of rumors in the French media that Hollande would formally announce the breakup on Saturday, on the eve of Trierweiler's visit to India for charity work. Hollande and Trierweiler are not married.

Hollande sought to put an end to turbulence that began two weeks ago when celebrity magazine Closer published a report that he was having an affair with film actress and Socialist Party supporter Julie Gayet.

Questions over Hollande's personal life have diverted public attention from a shift the president made this month toward more business-friendly policies aimed at reviving the eurozone's second-biggest economy in the face of high unemployment.

Hollande, first lady Trierweiler break up

A news conference to unveil the economic plans was overshadowed by questions about Hollande's personal life.

Announcing the separation, Hollande said he was speaking as an individual and not as head of state since it concerned his private life.

Trierweiler, a 48-year-old arts columnist for weekly magazine Paris Match, and Hollande had been together since 2006. She assumed the role of first lady at official functions after his election in May 2012. Like her predecessors, she maintained an office with a budget of about 20,000 euros ($27,400) per month.

Trierweiler was hospitalized for eight days for fatigue after news of the affair broke, and had since been staying in a secluded secondary residence belonging to the president near Versailles. She left the house, known as La Lanterne, on Saturday afternoon and would not return, a person close to the presidency said.

In her first public statement, Trierweiler thanked the staff of the Elysee presidential palace on her Twitter micro blog. "I will never forget their devotion, nor the emotion at the time of my departure," she wrote.

Trierweiler was expected to travel to India on Sunday in honor of an anti-hunger charity, and French media reports said she may speak at a news conference there.

Hollande, 59, is the most unpopular president in modern France, according to polls. He has struggled to live up to a promise to get unemployment, currently stuck near 11 percent, firmly on a downward trend.


 Hollande, first lady Trierweiler break up

French President Francois Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris in May. Thibault Camus / Reuters

(China Daily 01/27/2014 page12)

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