Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigerian elections: early results show close race

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"Slap in the face" for Socialists in French local elections

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria: Millions prepare to go to the polls on Saturday

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: And the winner is... Tense wait for election results (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: And the winner is... Tense wait for election results (part 1)

Read more

Access Asia

2015-03-30 17:45 ACCESS ASIA

Read more

ENCORE!

Jeanne Added on her classical pop-crossover

Read more

BEYOND BUSINESS

Race of ideas: is the US pulling away from France?

Read more

REVISITED

Video: A wind of freedom blowing in Kuwait

Read more

France

Spanish migrant Hidalgo becomes first woman mayor of Paris

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-05

Born in Spain and naturalised French at the age of 14, Anne Hidalgo has made history by becoming the first woman mayor of Paris, her new role confirmed on Saturday by a vote of city councillors.

The outcome of the city council's vote was a foregone conclusion because Hidalgo’s left-wing coalition won a majority of seats on the council during municipal elections held on March 30. The mayor of Paris is then chosen by council members in an electoral-college-style system.

Hidalgo, 54, won last Sunday's municipal election by a narrow margin and following an uninspiring campaign against right-wing rival Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

Her victory was nevertheless significant as it stood against the popular tide. Municipal elections nationwide saw massive gains for the conservative UMP party.

Political allies said they were not surprised that Hidalgo bucked the dominant trend to claim Paris's city hall, and that she began her path toward victory long ago and far away.

From Andalucía to Paris

Born in 1959 in southern Spain, Hidalgo came to France as a young child with her family, fleeing poverty and the regime of General Francisco Franco.

She grew up in an underprivileged neighbourhood of Lyon. After university studies in Lyon and Paris, she began her career as a civil servant in the labour inspection department in Paris in 1984.

A decade later, in 1994, she joined the Socialist Party and became a cabinet advisor to former prime minister Lionel Jospin, working especially on the issue of employment equality for women.

Starting in 2001, and up to her election, she served as deputy mayor of Paris under Bertrand Delanoe.

From the shadows to the spotlight

Critics have often dismissed Hidalgo as someone lacking the charisma needed to lead Paris, accusing her of simply surfing on Delanoe’s popularity to reach her position.

However, political allies are quick to hail her intrepid spirit and say she has all the qualities needed to head one of the world’s financial and cultural capitals.

“As soon as you know her you fall under her spell,” city councilman Jean-Luc Romero told FRANCE 24. “She's an intelligent woman, a woman who works extremely hard and who has an extraordinary capacity for leadership. She’s also very funny.”

Parisians will quickly be able to form their own opinion of Hidalgo as she steps into one of the most prominent roles in French politics. The woman who worked quietly in the shadow of Delanoe for 13 years is now at the forefront in the City of Light.

Date created : 2014-04-05

  • FRANCE

    Socialists set to keep Paris despite disappointing first poll

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Spain cheers as Spanish-born Valls and Hidalgo win French posts

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    A tale of two women: Paris set to get first female mayor

    Read more

COMMENT(S)