France’s Macron to Present ‘Charter’ on First Lady’s Role

  • Idea of law on Brigitte’s status abandoned after protests
  • Role of French ‘premiere dame’ has never been clarified

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After retreating on a plan to present a special law on the role of President Emmanuel Macron’s wife, the president’s office will instead publish a “charter” laying out her tasks. This is a first in France, where presidential partners have never had defined responsibilities.

“My status will be determined, not by a law, but by a charter of transparency which will explain that I’m not remunerated, and what are my missions and my means,” Brigitte Macron said in an interview in Lagardere SCA’s “Elle” magazine to be published Friday. “What is important, is that everything be clear.”

While wives and partners of French presidents have had their own office and staff, there’s never been an official status. After the idea of a law laying out Brigitte’s status was floated, an on-line referendum against it gathered 300,000 signatures.

In the interview, extracts of which were published on Elle’s website, Brigitte Macron said she’s uncomfortable with the American expression “first lady,” or “premiere dame,” which the French press has adopted. “Every time I hear it I feel like looking over my shoulder and asking whom they are talking about,” she said.

Macron’s successor, Francois Hollande, broke up with one partner and took up with another while in office. The first one accompanied Hollande on official visits while the second one was rarely seen in public with him. His predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy divorced and remarried while president.

Brigitte, 64, and Emmanuel Macron, 39, are on holiday in Marseilles this week.

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