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Paris Elections

Next Mayor of Paris? Will it be a cyclist, doctor or friend of the concierge?

Paris City Hall.
Paris City Hall. Wikimedia/Patrick Giraud
3 min

With just ten days to go before the first round vote, polls suggest a tight race between current Socialist Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Sarkozy’s combative former justice minister Rachida Dati and Macron's former Health minister Agnès Buzyn.

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Anne Hidalgo: The Cyclist

Incumbent mayor, Anne Hidalgo has definitely left her mark on the city in her nearly 6 years at the helm. Paris is now much more bike-friendly following a massive expansion in the number of cycle paths.

But her strong emphasis on environmental issues has not pleased everyone.

She has banned cars from some key roads in a bid to reduce pollution but critics of the policy argue it has simply forced traffic onto fewer clogged axes, creating traffic jams which exacerbate pollution in some areas.

Rival Agnès Buzyn said in a debate among candidates this week Hidalgo had “driven Parisians mad” because her policy had created so many traffic jams.

Hidalgo’s credentials on climate change issues have probably helped keep her comfortably ahead of the Green party candidate

Agnès Buzyn: The Doctor

Agnès Buzyn was Health Minister until 3 weeks ago, when she was hastily drafted in to replace Macron's candidate Benjamin Griveaux after he was forced to withdraw following a sex video scandal.

In a recent TV debate, Anne Hidalgo condemned Buzyn’s record as health minister reminding her that health workers have been protesting in the streets on an off for over a year.

Although Buzyn is a haematologist with a warm “bedside manner” personal style, she suffers from a lack of name recognition, a handicap with so little time to campaign.

Over 34% of Parisians voted for Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections so his candidate might have been expected to do well in the Mayoral race.

But nearly 3 years in office have considerably dented his popularity and therefore Buzyn’s chances.

Rachida Dati: The friend of the Concierge

Gigantic name recognition.

Appointed Justice Minister by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, Rachida Dati was the first non-white woman senior minister ever in a French government.

Those in her own LR party who were unsupportive of her candidature for the City Hall have been silenced in the face of an impressive campaign.

The mainstream right wing party is desperate for a significant victory after a succession of defeats and Dati is a natural on the campaign trail.

One of 11 children, the daughter of immigrant Moroccan and Algerian parents, she grew up with little money, and huge determination.

She has stuck to a simple message: Paris has become dirty, crime and insecurity have rocketed and she will sort it out.

Mayor of the chic 7th arrondissement since 2008, she gives her mobile number to the concierge of every apartment block in her patch.

Dati acknowledges that she was relatively slow to appreciate the urgency of climate change issues but says during her time at the European Parliament she learnt more about such issues and appreciates the seriousness of the crisis.

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