It looks like Emmanuel Macron’s honeymoon stage as France’s new leader is now over. The French President is under siege on almost all fronts. Sadly, even the infamous First Lady of France is getting a brunt of the hate.

Why is it big deal

According to Reuters, more than 220,000 people have signed an online petition that seeks to block the plan to formalize the office of the First Lady of France. President Macron has unveiled his desire to constitutionally appoint Brigette Macron as a member of the government. About 68 percent of the French public is against it.

Traditionally, the marital partner of the French president does not have a formal role in public governance. Unlike in the United States, the First Lady of France does not have the power to push and advocate for several worthy causes. As of the moment, Brigitte already has four staff members and she is receiving up to 200 letters per day.

Previous reports show that even during the campaign period, Macron was already outspoken about his plans for his wife. While he acknowledged that his wife should not be receiving a public salary, the French president wanted Brigitte to have her own staff and office. For the record, the French people perceived it as an “Americanisation” of the French political tradition.

Part of the reason why there is such an uproar over the issue is the fact that one of Macron’s opponents during the first round of the elections, Republican candidate Francois Fillon, was controversial for hiring her wife and paying her with salary for allegedly “fictitious” tasks. Giving Brigitte her own office and staff may then result in the abuse of the office of the First Lady of France.

Online Petition

Actor and author Thierry Paul Valette, who started the petition, insisted that the action was not to malign the skills and integrity of Macron's wife as a person. He says that it is only done in accord to the recent decree banning government officials from hiring someone from their own family, like the proposed First Lady of France.

Valette hopes that the petition will awaken those in government so they will denounce the move as well. After all, Macron campaigned on a promise to “transform” France. Part of this transformation, the French president said, is to empower its citizens to pressure all parliamentarians to participate and unite in tackling important issues in the country.

It also does not help that the plan to create a formal position for the wife of Macron came at a time when he is facing political hurdles. Despite his party La République En Marche! and the Democratic Movement dominating the National Assembly, the French president did not escape the critics for proposals to cut spending on military and housing.