Despite Opposition, Macron Announces Official Role for His Wife
French President Emmanuel Macron has been trying diligently for several months to convince the country to create an official First Lady role for his wife Brigitte. Macron first proposed the idea during his presidential campaign, but he was eventually forced to concede defeat after a huge public outcry against giving his wife an official government role. Nonetheless, despite public sentiment being overwhelmingly against the idea of creating a First Lady role, Macron has now announced that his wife will have an official role in representing France by her husband’s side during international meetings and summits, but she will not be paid for her role nor be given a budget to hire her own staff.
Macron has never been shy about stating his desire for his wife to have an official role in his government, and it seems that this latest move represents something of a compromise. The French president had originally hoped to convince lawmakers to change the constitution to grant an official First Lady role to his wife and the wives of all future French presidents. This plan was quickly put to bed after an online petition showed that the vast majority of French citizens were opposed to the idea.
For this reason, Macron has now skirted around the issue by granting his wife an official status that only applies to Brigitte Macron and is not binding on any future presidents. As part of her new role, Mrs. Macron will be responsible for organizing events at the Elysee Palace and will work closely with charities and organizations that support child protection, health, disabilities and education.
Although she will not be paid for the role nor will have her own staff budget, Mrs. Macron is still set to have her own cabinet and two presidential advisors that will work closely with her. Since she doesn’t have her own staff budget, the cost for hiring Mrs. Macron’s staff will be taken directly out of President Macron’s presidential staff budget.
Macron has promised to release information showing exactly how much his wife’s role and her staff will cost. However, the president’s statement announcing his wife’s new role did not contain any details about the cost of her new role or how many staff members she will have at her disposal. The fact that the money will come directly from the president’s own staff budget means there is little that lawmakers can do to stop Macron from following through on his plan. Nonetheless, considering the public opposition to his First Lady plan, it seems likely that there will be at least some public outcry over this latest move as well.
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