Published: Tue, August 08, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

French to Brigitte Macron: You're no first lady

French to Brigitte Macron: You're no first lady

Ugo Bernalicis, of the far-left coalition La France Insoumise, on Monday accused Macron's party of hypocrisy for speaking out against jobs for MPs' families but backing an official status for Brigitte Macron, "who was elected by no-one".

The issue has become a new political headache for Macron after an online petition against creating the role garnered more than 200,000 signatures and a poll showed a majority of French people were also opposed.

Despite his refusal, the petition explained that the refusal was by no means an offense to Brigitte Macron or her ability as a presidential aide. Firstly, tradition: the first lady of France typically promotes charities from Elysée Palace, with help from one or two assistants and protection from security guards, reports the BBC.

The online petition calls for a stop to the plans to create a "First Lady" public office, which would see Brigitte Macron, 64, support the president as part of his administration.

A presidential spokesman said Macron's hosts were making "cooperative" noises on the subject of so-called detached workers, who work on temporary contracts in other European Union member states without joining that country's workforce. Unlike the US, France does not automatically give presidents' wives or husbands such a role.

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Macron had always made clear that Brigitte would not be paid in the proposed role as First Lady.

Now, it's unclear how unpopular the idea of an official first lady actually is. Parliament is also about to pass a new law created to prevent MPs from hiring family members as assistants.

"Paid by the Republic, no".

"I want there to be a defined role for her, and I will ask for a proposal to be presented on how to proceed in that regard", Macron said during the lead up to the country's presidential election, according to The Washington Post.

"So the person who lives with you must have a role and be recognised in that role".

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