Every 6 years in France, voters go to the polls to elect their Mayor and members of municipal councils, as well as, for groupings of municipalities, community councilors.
France, with 36,000 municipalities (and 70 million inhabitants) includes half of the municipalities in the whole of Europe. It is not a sign of administrative efficiency, but rather of fragmentation.
It should be noted, especially for small municipalities, those with less than 100 inhabitants, that there is a lack of enthusiasm for the demanding role of mayor.
Nevertheless, for the 2020 elections, 1 million candidates presented themselves.
Sadness too, since, while citizens of the European Union can vote and run, 800 British municipal councilors had to give up, due to Brexit.
British citizens, on receiving a letter from the French authorities announcing that 'they could not participate, were very bitter.
In 2020, on March 15, for the first round (the French majority system requires two rounds if there is no majority of 50% in the first), the elections were held in a particular climate, due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Some would have liked the postponement of the elections, given the risks to public health.
The government, under pressure notably from right-wing parties, decided otherwise, and elections were held.
They resulted in a high rate of abstentions, but were nonetheless considered representative.
Note that, as the pandemic increases in danger, the second round has been postponed for several months.
But even so, after the First round, 30,000 municipalities have a Mayor and Municipal Council for the next 6 years.
The European dimension has been there, and we must welcome the initiative of the association Sauvons l'Europe, which has close links with New Europeans.
More than 100 municipalities (including the Mayors of Paris, Lille, Strasbourg, Pau, etc.) have signed the Charter of Commitment to the Europe of the Territories, committing to register their municipal policy in close liaison with Europe.
The undersigned had the honor to appear in a small town in the south of France, where the RN (far right) traditionally scores well.
Success since a second round will take place, and despite the containment decisions decided, we are preparing for it!
Long live local and European democracy!
About the author
Michel Caillouet is a former EU Ambassador and a member of New Europeans. He lives in the South of France.