Politico Europe published an article on a kerfuffle in France about President Macron’s idea to elevate his wife to the status of First Lady. During the elections, Macron said he would create the position for his wife, pledging it would not be paid by with public funds.

Thierry Paul Valette, self-described painter and author, and scion of a ‘family of industrialists’ tracing their roots back to the 18th century, objects to the establishment of the new position. Valette, who is the founder of a political movement heavily influenced by the extreme-left, called the national equality, has started a petition against it.

In the text accompanying the petition, which at the time of publishing has been signed by over 197.500 people in two weeks, Valette criticises the establishment of the position of ‘First Lady’ at a time the National Assembly bans employing family members, stating there:

There is no reason for the wife of the head of state to get a budget out of public funds. Brigitte Macron currently has a team of two to three collaborators, as well as two secretaries and two security guards, and that is enough. If this issue is to be decided, it must be done in the context of a referendum and not by a single man.

The petition further states that it’s up to the people of France to choose their representatives, that 65% of the French are not in favour of the creation of a ‘First Lady’-position and that it is the wrong signal to send in a time of cost-cutting. Valette also takes a swing at Macron directly, claiming:

Emmanuel Macron, although President, cannot decide everything by himself … Many voted for him just to block the Front National and not because they endorsed his program.