Hollande's partner Valerie Trierweiler in tweet apology

Valerie Trierweiler, companion of France's president-elect Francois Hollande arrives at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris, May 15, 2012 Valerie Trierweiler caused embarrassment to President Hollande with her tweets

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France's first lady Valerie Trierweiler has admitted she made a mistake sending tweets aimed against President Francois Hollande's former partner.

Ms Trierweiler caused controversy when she used Twitter to publicly back an opponent of Segolene Royal in parliamentary elections in June.

Ms Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate in 2007, is the mother of Mr Hollande's four children.

Ms Trierweiler told a French newspaper she regretted the move.

"It was a mistake that I regret. I must have been clumsy because this was badly interpreted," Ms Trierweiler told regional newspaper Ouest-France. "I had not yet realised that I was no longer a simple citizen. It won't happen again."

Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem welcomed the remarks. "It is entirely to her credit that Valerie Trierweiler has taken the time to express her regrets," she said according to French news agency AFP.

During the elections, Ms Trierweiler tweeted support for Ms Royal's opponent, dissident socialist politician Olivier Falorni. Her actions embarrassed Mr Hollande, who had only recently been elected president.

Rivalry?

The president had given his public support to his former partner Ms Royal, who subsequently lost the election to Mr Falorni.

He recently told journalist that he and the first lady agreed on everything except her tweets.

According to the BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris, there has long been speculation of the intense rivalry between the two women.

Ms Royal is a former leader of the Socialist Party who ran for president in 2007 but was defeated by conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. Ms Trierweiler is a former political journalist.

In the interview with Ouest-France, she said she planned to continue working at Paris-Match - the weekly magazine where she writes an arts column. - but would abandon plans for a more high-profile television presenting role.

"I understand that being the president's partner and working for a television channel may be problematic or even fuel suspicion for some people," she said.

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