Brigitte Macron Likely Won't Gain the Distinction of "First Lady"
Although French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to create an authorized First Lady position for his wife Brigitte during his campaign, it now appears that he plans to soften his stance.
The change comes as a result of resistance from the French public. A petition against making Brigitte Macron First Lady gained over 280,000 signatures, and an online poll reflected a high disapproval rating.
Instead, the Élysée Palace has promised to create a report detailing Brigitte Macron's role to the public. This "charter of transparency" means to spell out which resources are accessible to Mrs. Macron and what it will cost the French public.
According to a source close to Mrs. Macron, the French President never intended to make a permanent change in the Constitution, but rather to clearly define Brigitte Macron's position. The source also stated that the stance held by the president has remained unchanged throughout the planning.
Aurore Bergé, a prominent lawmaker and a member of President Macron's Republic, clarified that the party's intention is to inform the public how much Mrs. Macron's position will cost.
The First Lady of France position would follow in the footsteps of the American practice in which the president's wife has an established post. In the past, the French president's partner has had diplomatic responsibilities and a small personal staff but no official title.
For reference, the personnel of the former partner of François Hollande, Valérie Trierweiler, expended 400,000 euros in 2013.
Unfortunately for President Macron, this conflict coincides with a sudden slip in his popularity with the French public. After three months as president, a recent poll showed his approval rating at only 36%.
Parliament will also vote on a measure that prohibits MPs from hiring family or partners to prevent future wrongdoing.
Ugo Bernalis of the leftist France Unbowed party denounced the idea of bankrolling the unelected Brigitte Macron's operations.
President Macron has said several times that Mrs. Macron wouldn't be paid for the position of First Lady. "Paid by the Republic, no. Having a role, a real status, a real capacity to act, yes," he said in March.
Brigitte Macron plans to vigorously support mental health and handicap charities. Some of the French public has shown interest in her, with many sending letters.
Despite signs of support, Thierry Paul Valette's petition to prevent her from becoming First Lady had gained 286,000 signatures by Tuesday.
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