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Brigitte, Emmanuel Macron; Thierry Paul Valette

Petition against Brigitte Macron as official ‘First Lady’ is gaining strength

A petition to stop French president Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte from getting public money is gaining strength.

Published: August 7, 2017, 10:53 am

    Paris

    The petition on change.org began two weeks ago to demand that no public money be set aside for the First Lady role, which French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte Macron currently holds.

    The signatures against the First Lady so far collected, is over 180 000 of the targeted 200 000.

    It was started two weeks ago by painter and author Thierry Paul Valette. Valette said any decision should be made by referendum and not presidential decree.

    Brigitte Macron is now facing a people’s revolt against plans to give her an official “first lady” role, with an office, staff and an allowance from the taxpayers.

    The rebellion comes as Macron’s popularity continues to plummet. Polls last month showed he had dropped seven percentage points with only 36 percent of French people approving of their new leader, AFP reported.

    The plan is particularly unpopular as Macron is also preparing to force through his “morality” law, banning parliamentarians from employing wives and family members. Creating an official title for Brigitte would create a separate publicly funded budget for the president’s partner.

    Currently the president’s partners are allowed an office, staff, security guards paid for out of the Elysée budget and estimated by the official auditors at around €450,000 a year.

    Thierry Paul Valette noted “more than 65 percent are against the creation of a special status for Brigitte Macron”.

    During his presidential campaign, Macron promised to “clarify” the role of his wife by giving her official status, describing the current situation as a “kind of French hypocrisy”.

    On Friday, Daniel Fasquelle of the centre-right Les Républicains party said Macron was too inexperienced. “He’s not up to the job, either in his behaviour or in addressing the issues. We are seeing promises not being kept, hitches, flip-flopping.”

    Macron’s opponents are also getting ready for widespread protests over his government’s labour law reforms in September.

    Neither the husband of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, nor Theresa May’s husband, have any official role. The US first lady, Melania Trump, has a team of 12 staff and an official status, under a law from 1978.

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