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Wanted: French councils seek candidates for upcoming elections

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-07

Local French politicians had until Thursday night to sign up for municipal elections but when enrolment closed at 6 p.m., 64 municipalities found themselves without candidates for the first round of voting, scheduled for 23 March.

In municipal elections, French voters choose between party lists. Candidates on the winning list secure most of the seats on the local council. The remaining seats are then redistributed proportionally across all the lists.

In smaller towns, however, individual candidates are more likely to stand without the backing of a party.

According to the Interior Ministry, 21,186 candidate lists were on record in 9,734 municipalities with more than 1,000 residents, an increase since the last local elections, in 2008. Only one town with more than 1,000 residents, Gironde-sur-Dropt (in the southwest), found itself without a candidate list, and 63 municipalities with a population of less than 1,000 – or 0.24 per cent of French municipalities – had no candidates at all.

“But new candidates can be registered in the second round,” the ministry said.

There are several possible reasons for the shortfall. One may be that the gender parity requirement for ballot lists, which previously applied only to cities of more than 3,500 people, has now been extended to elections in all cities with more than 1,000 inhabitants.

If no candidate has declared his or her intention to run before the second round, the préfet – the state’s representative in a department, or region – will appoint a special delegation of three constituents to govern for an interim period of three months, before new elections are held.

If at that stage there is still a shortage of candidates, the administrative district will be dissolved and merged with another.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-03-07

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