To rid Paris of rats. The French capital has chosen a mayor

President Macron’s supporters couldn’t convince the townspeople they could handle the rodents. And they lost.

To rid Paris of rats. The French capital has chosen a mayor

President Emmanuel Macron has something to think about. In the mayoral and council elections in Paris, the lists of the party “Forward Republic!”, which supports the head of state, were able to get only 13% of the vote and finished the race in third place. The election campaign was elbow to elbow for a long time, but ended with a rush by incumbent Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her supporters (48.7%). A year ago they were predicted to lose because of their inability to protect Paris from rats. However, the proposals made by the macro- and right-wing extremists on this problem proved even less convincing.

Small, fluffy

Rats, whose phenomenon in the streets of Paris described still Victor Hugo, again became the scourge of the French capital under the board of Hidalgo, first elected to his post in 2014. As of 2020, there are 3.5-4 million of these animals in the metropolis: 1.5-1.7 times more than the citizens. The spread of rodents is the result of their usual fertility (eight cubs per pair on average), reinforced by the inactivity of public services. The latter is dangerous. It is calculated: if we leave the rats alone, allowing them to eat and breed, then from two adults in a year may occur up to 3 thousand offspring, and they are able to capture even the largest city in the world.

The ratings of Ann Hidalgo and the Socialist Party, which supports her, were about 20-25%, while the mayor blamed the growth of the rat population on residents leaving garbage (including food) right on the streets. The mayor declared a cultural problem related to the unwillingness to clean up after herself, and proposed to retrain the citizens: until they themselves, unwilling to feed the rodents, will not significantly reduce their stock. In the Parisian town hall, they made it clear that the hands of the city authorities were tied. Effective, but inhumane methods of solving the problem were completely excluded by the European Union. According to the norms approved in Brussels, it is not allowed to put poison in rat holes, as it damages the environmental situation in the city.

An interim solution has been found, which has allowed Anne Hidalgo to retain her seat as mayor. The city has set up bins that are uncomfortable for rodents to climb into. The installation of new bins softened everyone’s discontent. All the more so because during the election campaign it turned out that neither former Health Minister Agnès Byuzen, nor Republican Rashida Dati, a candidate from the macronists, could offer any fundamentally new ideas for the fight against rats.

Macron’s retreat

To Ann Hidalgo’s great relief, her competitors couldn’t agree with each other either. It turned out there was too much to share. Busen, who has worked in the government for several years, represents Emmanuel Macron’s party “Forward, Republic!”, which claims leadership in French politics. In the Elysée Palace, from the very beginning, Busen’s tasks were high, and voting in the capital was treated as a rehearsal for national elections. Perhaps that is why Macron supporters abandoned the common list with the right-wing Republicans party. After all, both political forces will inevitably go to the presidential elections separately.

Three years ago, when Makron was elected president, he was able to achieve a high result in Paris, ousting his competitor – Republican Francois Fillon. However, in 2020, the result of a separate speech by two political forces appealing to a close electorate was the opposite. Not only did the “Republicans” beat the macronists, taking second place (34%), but Agnès Bouzen suffered a personal defeat: she was unable to be elected to the Council of Paris.

The difficulties of the lady-politician is a consequence of the confusing system of elections in force in the megapolis, where the mayor is vested with powers by the parliament, which, in its turn, is staffed with representatives of district legislative assemblies, rather than being directly elected by all citizens at the same time. This played a cruel joke on Byusen: in the constituency from which she ran, the macroeconomics performed particularly badly and could not get any parliamentary seats. The recent minister succeeded in securing a modest second row district council seat, which does not allow the entire city to sit in parliament. It will soon be known whether a lady politician known throughout France will accept this secondary position or choose another career continuation, most likely surrounded by Macron.


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