Citizens oppose French president’s attempt to make his wife First Lady
By Sewe Ishola,
Almost 200,000 French citizens have signed the petition preventing Brigitte Macron, wife of the French President, from being given the official position of “First Lady”.
The online petition was published on the change.org platform and created by Thierry Paul Valette, the founder of the “National Equality” movement, which aims to combat corruption and discrimination.
The petition specifies that, if enacted, the special status would allow the first lady benefit from the French budget. Although, the president has said Ms Macron will not be paid for the role, she would likely receive an office, additional staff and a separate budget.
“When you’re elected president of the Republic, you live with someone, you give your days and nights, you give your public life and your private life,” Mr Macron told French broadcaster TF1.
“So the person who lives with you must have a role and be recognised in that role.”
The decision is particularly controversial because of cuts the President has already proposed to housing benefits and military spending.
The move to block Ms Macron from taking up a formal role at the Élysée Palace was triggered by Emmanuel Macron’s decision to push forward with controversial “morality” laws, which would ban parliamentarians from employing family members, in an effort to tackle corruption.
During his presidential campaign, Macron, who took office in May, said that he wanted to create the position for his wife in order to clarify her status, promising that no public funds would be used to pay her.