Local Elections Underway in Paris

Campaigning is underway for the mayoral elections in the French capital. Photo: Clementine Gallot for Flickr

Campaigning is underway for the mayoral elections in the French capital. Photo: Clementine Gallot for Flickr

The municipal campaign for Mayor of Paris is fully underway between Anne Hidalgo, current deputy mayor, and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (better known as NKM) of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP). Both candidates have revealed their platforms and will continue touring the capital until the elections in March 2014.

Hidalgo discussed her focal points for the election on Sunday, December 8. Titled “a Daring Paris,” her platform focuses mainly on housing, improvement of health services, and services oriented toward youth. The candidate has faced criticism for failing to elaborate on how she plans on financing the daring measures announced. Some argue that as her financial program is based on private funds, the means to accomplish her promise to cut spending without raising taxes remain unclear.

NKM, ex-Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, announced her program in early November, making security her first priority, followed by housing. Polling results have shown that the sudden increase of violence in 2013 has led security to be the main concern of many Parisians. Her platform includes creating a neighborhood police force and a considerable reinforcement of video surveillance. For her part, Hidalgo’s program on security represents a measure of continuity with the current mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, with an increased emphasis on crime prevention.

Anne Hidalgo, candidate for mayor and current first deputy mayor of Paris. Photo: Julien-René Jacques for Wikimedia Commons.

Anne Hidalgo, candidate for mayor and current first deputy mayor of Paris. Photo: Julien-René Jacques for Wikimedia Commons.

Regarding housing, a major topic for the French capital, Hidalgo has promised the building of 10,000 new units every year. NKM has on the other hand been advocating for an assignment of existing housing towards middle class Parisians in particular. Against the background of a rising debate about low-cost housing for public officials while rents continue climbing rapidly throughout the capital, Hidalgo has repeatedly insisted on more transparency. This emphasis has also been expressed in regards to the system of allocation of social housing (HLM), as she announced a reform to make the allocation system clearer for its applicants.

While both programs discuss the similar themes of tax system reform and youth, NKM’s campaign has also introduced the idea of a “revolution of timetables,” coined by her team, in an effort to extend running times of public transport significantly.

Both women have been battling head-to-head in recent polls but the latest one by IFOP published on Wednesday projected Anne Hidalgo to win in the second round with 52.5% of the vote. In general, Paris has leaned more towards the left, as seen by the 10-year run of Bertrand Delanoë.

Some however have voiced concern that the current unpopularity of the socialist government and the lack of manifest support from Delanoë could hurt Hidalgo’s chances in the long run. The left candidate has been promoting her experience as deputy mayor in the ongoing campaign, while NKM has criticized her for wasting her time in city hall and not achieving any of her goals.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, ex-Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing and current candidate for mayor. Photo: Thesupermat for Wikimedia Commons.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, ex-Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing and current candidate for mayor. Photo: Thesupermat for Wikimedia Commons.

Another poll conducted by IFOP showed earlier this week that both candidates could in fact potentially lose in their respective districts, the 14th for NKM and the 15th for Hidalgo. In theory, such a defeat would not damage the candidates’ chances of winning office, as it is municipal deputies, elected during the municipal elections, who will vote to choose the mayor. Therefore, the candidates both need a majority of elected deputies in the city in order to win. A crucial difference in this potential defeat is that NKM needs to win in her own district to shift it, and the city itself, to the right, unlike Hidalgo who could still be elected mayor despite losing in the 15th.

The left candidate has benefitted from the longstanding support of the governing Parti socialiste (PS), the Parti communiste français (PCF), and the Parti Radical de Gauche (PRG), or Radical Party of the Left. Meanwhile NKM, representing UMP, concluded an alliance on December 5 with the center-right parties Union des démocrates et indépendants (UDI) and Mouvement démocrate (MoDem), led by Jean-Louis Borloo and François Bayrou respectively, in an effort to secure uncertain districts such as the 8th.

These developments come in the midst of an unprecedented recorded peak of pollution for the French capital, suggesting that environmental policy could soon take on more importance as the campaign gathers steam.

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  1. […] The municipal campaign for Mayor of Paris is fully underway between Anne Hidalgo, current deputy mayor, and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (better known as NKM) of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP). Both candidates have revealed their platforms and will continue touring the capital until the elections in March 2014. Read more about the Paris local election. […]

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