French President Emmanuel Macron has come under fire over plans to give his wife official status as “First Lady” of the country, the media reported. Macron, who took office in May, is facing accusations of hypocrisy after he was previously outspoken in his determination to rid the French political system of nepotism, reports CNN. A petition with close to 200,000 signatures has been launched in protest at the decision to give Brigitte Macron an official role with access to public funds, her own staff and office. “Brigitte Macron currently has a team of two or three aides, as well as two secretaries and two security agents. That’s enough,” the petition said. “It is up to the people of France — and no-one else — to choose their representatives.”
According to the French constitution, the president’s spouse does not enjoy an official role, though they do have an office and advisers. During his presidential campaign, Macron said any role for his wife would not be paid for out of public funds. The controversial move comes as Macron is preparing to pass a law which would ban French parliamentarians from employing members of their own families. If Macron’s law is passed, anyone convicted of such an offence could face fines and potential time in prison, CNN reported.
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Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers have voiced their anger at the apparently contradictory positions adopted by Macron. 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”.
Republican National Assembly member Thierry Mariani accused the President of taking a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to politics.