Brigitte Macron First Lady?

Petition calls to block Brigitte Macron becoming First Lady

New York Times

France Backs Away From Official Role for First Lady

This summer, however, was not a good time to push ahead on the project. The French Parliament is working on an ethics law for politicians that would, among other things, ban the hiring of relatives because some politicians have used the practice to augment their own incomes.

Although Mr. Macron's goal was to modernize the presidential system, many people appear to have construed his efforts, which have included having an internal committee discuss different approaches, as a favor to his wife.

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A summer of discontent for Emmanuel Macron?

By Daniel J.McLaughlin

Politics is about timing, and the timing is not great for Macron to push for an official role for his wife. On the campaign trail, he said he would like to see a legal framework for the work of the president's spouse. However, the French parliament is currently working on an ethics law for politicians that would ban the hiring of relatives.

The summer has not been the opportune moment for the French president to push forward with his plans, as the honeymoon period is well and truly over. His popularity has already slumped after just three months in office, slipping seven points down to a 36 per cent approval rating, according to a new YouGov poll. While the centrist won convincingly against far-right candidate Marie Le Pen, winning 66 per cent of the vote, he has seen a rise of negative views from the French, with 49 per cent disapproving of the new president (an increase of 13 points).

The former banker's austerity policies may be one cause of his popularity decline. His centrist government has announced €4.5 billion (£4.1 billion) in public spending cuts to bring France's budget deficit within EU limits.

He is facing resistance from the trade unions after trying to rush his modernisation programme. Philippe Cattuzato, from the Confederation of Republican Marchers and a supporter for Emmanuel Macron, criticised the President for not taking his time with key reforms.

Appearing on BBC's Newsnight, Mr Cattuzato said: “What I have against this government and the national assembly is that they are confusing speed and haste.

“We could have taken the time to prepare the grounds for reforms in a calmer way, instead of rushing them through in the summer.

He added: “This season is never good for that. Others have tried to get reforms through, during recess to push them through. It’s never good.”

Macron's aura is beginning to fade, the Guardian argues, with the political reality starting to bite. Following his humbling of the mainstream opposition parties, the Socialists and the Républicains, in both the presidential election and the legislative elections with his party République En Marche! (REM), his campaign promises are becoming policies; and they are unwelcome upon coming into practice. While attempting to hit the EU target and making France's economy more competitive sound great on paper, reality has "started to cast a shadow over the king of the gods".

Emmanuel Macron's popularity rating is lower than both of his predecessors, Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, at the same stage in their presidency. Hollande, whom he served under as economy minister before resigning and forming his own party, left the office as the least popular French president since World War II.

Macron's presidency has just started, but will it finish on the same low as his two predecessors?

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