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Paris mayor unveils plan to redraw city's historic map

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Photo: AFP
11:07 CET+01:00
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, will stir up a hornet’s nest on Monday when she presents her plan to reform the way Paris is run, including the controversial merger of four arrondissements.

Hidalgo essentially wants to have more powers in the hands of the City Hall so as to free the French capital from the interference of central government.

One of her standout reforms that she announced was to merge the first four arrondissements of the capital - the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th together.

That news had locals, both foreign and French, up in arms when it was announced last month, with people fearing the changes would mean their arrondissement number would change.

Those living in the 20th suddenly feared they would have to say they were living in the seventeenth and those in the trendy 3rd arrondissement would now have to call it the 1st, which is mainly populated by tourists.

But just to a set a few things straight:

Even if the first four arrondissements are grouped together for administrative reasons, the city’s postcodes will not change. In other words Paris will continue to have 20 arrondissements.

However it will only have 17 mayors in future if Hidalgo’s plan is given the green light.

It’s worth noting that the Green Party, Hidalgo’s partners in authority, have submitted a plan for a more ambitious reform of the city’s arrondissements.

PLUS, the town halls of the 1st, 2nd,3rd and 4th arrondissements are not going to disappear either. So locals in those four neighbourhoods will still have their own town hall that will take charge of their administrative duties.

What will happen is that the number of local councillors in the first four arrondissements will reduce, given that there will only be one council now instead of four.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about Paris' arrondissements

Hidalgo's plan is motivated by her desire to make the arrondissements more equal in terms the size of the population they serve or in her words allow a "better democratic representation".

"There are 15 times more inhabitants in the 15th arrondissment than the first," said Hidalgo's deputy Bruno Julliard.

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The mayor basically wants the same powers other towns in France have, to tackle traffic and parking issues, pollution, including noise pollution and street cleanliness, that are currently in the hands of police.

Hidalgo wants to take over other powers from the police, namely to give the Town Hall more power to deal with slums and substandard housing as well taking charge of the police who covers the city’s bathing areas.

Her reform also involves creating a unified authority rather than Paris having the status of both "city" and département" as it does currently.

Hidalgo’s plan however is likely to face stiff opposition from the right, who believe the plan to merge four arrondissements is simply politically motivated to ensure the Socialists hold on to power.

In order for it to be passed the reforms will be need to be backed by parliament, which Hidalgo hopes will happen in the summer.

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