Elections will be held all over France today. All 36,680 mayorships will be up for re-election as will all city, town and village council seats. In total there are 926,068 candidates, 1 one for every 49 voters in France.
So we are going to elect the conseil municipal of Cortambert for the next six years. It depends on the size of the commune how many councillors you can elect. And you do not vote for individuals but for lists of people.
From 2014 the lists must have an equal number of men and woman alternating by gender with the name of a man at the top. It is just the councillors who are elected and they will meet next week to elect the mayor. Another change is that in a small commune of less than 1000 people it is no longer necessary to show identity. This helps the older population who have probably lived here all their lives and may not possess a passport or a driving licence.
Arriving at the Mairie to vote
Our commune is small, comprising three villages with 200 people. So we are entitled to 11 councillors. That’s about one to every 15 people not including the children. There are 13 who wish to be considered so all we have to do is cross off two people.
In larger communes such as Cormatin there will be 15 councillors elected. The mayor’s list of 15 has been published but there has been a heated debate between the ruling clique and the dissenters who have put forward their own list, albeit incomplete with only 11 names.
Voting in large cities such as Lyon and Paris is much more complicated and if the lists do not get a good enough majority the voting goes to stage 2 next Sunday. Paris is excited to be electing its first woman mayor. It is hoped that either of the two female candidates can infuse Paris with the economic and political dynamism to boost the working Parisiens and save Paris from becoming just a tourist attraction.
Mayors and their deputies are paid very little considering the work they have to put in. The Mayor has be responsible for the administration of the commune’s budget and the execution of public works. He is a registrar of births, marriages and deaths and a law enforcement official. He has specific powers as regards the granting of planning permission. All proposed renovations have to be run by him first.
Identity check by the scrutineers
We went to a meeting this week where we met the candidates. Somebody from the back asked Can our European friends vote? referring to the latest incomers to our commune, the English, Scots and Dutch. The Mayor kindly replied that yes we can. He is very keen that newcomers integrate and encourages people to take part in all village activities. So he explained that anybody from the EU who registered by the end of 2013 and is resident in the commune can vote.
So voilà, off we went today, our first experience of voting in France.
The results were published the same day and can be found on Chris’s Cortambert website here