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French president’s ‘Mr. Normal’ image hit by tweet

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Sarkozy lost May’s presidential election in large part because French voters grew tired of his very public private life, political pundits have said.

Conversely, a clear strength of Hollande, slightly portly and very discreet, was his Mr. Normal image.

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Voters thought a Hollande presidency would spell the end of the Elysee family soap opera that saw Sarkozy divorce and take a new wife, haute-couture model turned singer, Carla Bruni, while president.

Commentators are now saying that history is repeating itself.

"He only beat Sarkozy by a small percentage, [owing to] his non-bling, private image ... Now he seems no different than Sarkozy, caught between two women," said Mercier.

The colorful amorous exploits of French leaders is nothing new.

For instance, Francois Mitterrand, French president from 1981 to 1995, had a secret daughter with a mistress.

But the French media, who have made it a point of honor to be protective of politicians’ private lives, kept Mitterrand’s exploits out of the papers.

In today’s world, however, politicians’ every public move is now under the scrutiny of smart phones and Twitter, and maintaining privacy is harder than ever — even in France.

"It’s for sure we’re in an era where the private life of public people is more and more exposed with new media," said Diane-Monique Adjanonhoun, a political marketing strategist.

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For Adjanonhoun, "tweetgate" signals the end of the era of politician’s privacy.

"Presidents now are breaking with Mitterrand’s time... We used to be a private country. But now, whether conscious or unconscious, France is no exception."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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