Call to axe ‘First Lady’ role

Politicians have said the concept needs removing, or slimming down, as controversy continues over supposed affair

14 January 2014

A SENIOR Socialist politician has called for an end to the role of “First Lady” in the wake of the scandal over President Hollande’s alleged affair.

The senator-mayor of Dijon, a friend of Mr Hollande’s, said on RTL radio: “You elect a person and whether they live alone, are celibate or live with a man or a woman, it’s of no interest, it shouldn’t interfere.”

François Rebsamen, who is president of the Socialist group in the Senate, added: “The practice of having a ‘First Lady’ is out-of-date, old-fashioned, and should be banned.”

That would include abolishing the office and secretariat that go with the role, he said.

The Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has also spoken out on the issue, calling for, not a ban but a more “discreet” role, on Europe 1. The president’s partner could still have a “little secretariat” to manage engagements like attending official dinners, but has no need of a full office or a website, she said.

Valérie Trierweiler is still in hospital, where she was admitted for “rest and tests” after the publication of photos of Mr Hollande allegedly visiting actress Julie Gayet on a scooter. Her doctors reportedly stated she needed longer to get over a period of low spirits.

The problem of the alleged affair and its impact on Mr Hollande’s image is expected to be the first question that will be raised at the press conference he will hold today. He may reiterate the approach he has taken so far (in written statements), stressing respect for his private life.

The conference, which will start with a 20-minute speech by Hollande followed by an hour of questions from journalist, will be shown on France 2 from 16.15, and will also be shown on the internet at francetvinfo

Among other issues, Mr Hollande will give details of his new “responsibility pact” meant to help boost businesses.

He is also expected to be questioned on matters like his objectives in Africa and a possible timetable for withdrawal of troops, unemployment, taxes and public spending cuts.

Photo: Jackolan1/ Wikimedia Commons

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