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Brigitte Macron ... or French First Lady?

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By Seamus Kearney
Brigitte Macron ... or French First Lady?

The Elysee Palace in France has hit back in a controversy over plans by the president to create a formal role for his wife.

More than 280,000 people have signed a petition against creating official status for Brigitte Macron, similar to the position of US First Lady.

Aides to the president are promising to make public soon the exact nature of the position, but they are insisting there will be no special budget or salary or change to the constitution.

They also stress her position will be public and not political.

The Elysee was forced to respond amid the growing public backlash, especially as the government is taking a hard line on transparency in politics.

For example, new rules are being introduced to ban MPs and Senators from employing members of their own family.

Critics say there should not be any surprise in the Elysee that the same spotlight should fall on the situation concerning the head of state.