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Emmanuel Macron to abandon plans to create official first lady post

French President Emmanuel Macron is to abandon plans to create an official role of first lady for his wife, Brigitte

9 August 2017, 8:03am
French President Emmanuel Macron had promised during his presidential campaign to create 'a real status' for his wife, Brigitte
French President Emmanuel Macron had promised during his presidential campaign to create 'a real status' for his wife, Brigitte
Brigitte Macron will not be given the official job of France’s ‘First Lady’ or the salary to go with it, aides to her husband French President Emmanuel Macron have said.

The newly elected 39-year-old President had promised on the campaign trail in March to create "a real status" for his wife Brigitte.

The issue has become a new political headache for Macron after an online petition against creating the role garnered more than 280,000 signatures and an opinion poll showed a majority of French people were also opposed.

Presidential aides have now clarified that Brigitte Macron will have a public role, but she will not draw a salary from the French state, and there will be no change in the constitution – something that would have been required if the title “First Lady of France” was to be given formal legal standing.

What will happen, the aides said, is that in the next few days a “transparency charter” will be published, clarifying Brigitte Macron’s exact role, how much she costs the French taxpayer in expenses, and how many staff she has working with her.

In a series of tweets, government spokesman Christophe Castaner defended Brigitte Macron's position, but said no changes would be made to it.

"Brigitte Macron plays a role and has responsibilities. We are looking to be transparent and to outline the means she has at her disposal," Castaner posted.

"No modification of the constitution, no new funding, no salary for Brigitte Macron. Stop the hypocrisy!"

"Brigitte Macron receives more than 200 letters a day ... and keeps a link with the French public with the greatest discretion," he added.

According to the French constitution, the president's spouse does not enjoy an official position, though they do have an office and a number of advisers.