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French Mayors Reluctant to Stand

Thursday 15 March 2007

A third of all mayors in France are proposing not to stand for re-election, when local elections take place again in 2008.

In about 20% of the cases it is because of reasons of age, but all others cite the growing complexity of the role and the demands on their time.

This is the main conclusion of a poll of all mayors carried out recently by French polster Ipsos.

Of those who do not propose to stand, almost half are located in small communes, where there are the loudest complaints that the resources (human and financial) to undertake the role are insufficient.

Even in the larger communes, the mayors express some discontentment with the role, notably the increasingly consumerist attitude of the population towards public services.

Last year, the Government of Dominic de Villepin, imposed major new responsibilities on local mayors in relation to the maintenance of law and order. This has caused widespread concern amongst mayors, who consider they do not have the proper resources, or that it is an appropriate function for them to carry out.

As a result of this growing dissatisfaction, many smaller communes are finding it increasingly difficult to get someone take on the job.

In France, a mayor is elected indirectly from amongst the elected councillors in a village for a period of six years. Residents from the European Union can vote in local elections and stand as for election as a councillor.

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