• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Paris set for historic all-female mayoral battle

Ben McPartland · 18 Feb 2013, 10:42

Published: 18 Feb 2013 10:42 GMT+01:00

The current mayor Bertrand Delanoë will step down at the end of his second term in office next year and so far all the big names lined up to replace him are women.

It looks almost certain therefore that in 2014 Paris Town Hall will get its first ever female mayor.

The front runner is Delanoë’s current deputy Anne Hidalgo, 53, who looks set to be the official Socialist Party candidate. Delanoë himself has given Hidalgo his backing.

But behind her is Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, 39, better known in France as simply NKM. The former spokeswoman for Nicolas Sarkozy during last year’s failed presidential election campaign bid officially announced her candidature last week.

But NKM is not yet guaranteed the position as chosen candidate of the French right. She may be forced to fight it out for the chance to run against Hidalgo in a primary election against Rachida Dati, the mayor of Paris’s VII arrondissement.

Dati was once justice minister under Sarkozy before being unceremoniously dropped. She has been ever present in the headlines thanks in part to her much publicized paternity law suit to prove that Dominique Desseigne, a wealthy hotel group chief, is the father of her child.

And then there is the Greens’ Cécile Duflot, 37, the current housing minister, who has hinted she too may run for mayor in 2014. “I'm not ruling anything out,” she told French newspaper the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday on the question of whether she will run for mayor.

Marielle de Sarnez, vice-president of the centrist MoDem party could complete an all-female line up although there is still time for male candidates to throw their hats into the ring.

Next up, a female president?

Whoever comes out on top, having a female occupy one of the most prestigious posts in French politics, will give a significant boost to women in politics.

“The mayor of Paris has a lot of political clout, much more than London, so having a woman in that position will certainly help boost the presence of females in French politics,” Philippe Marlière, a professor in French politics at UCL London, told The Local on Monday.

“You can introduce all kinds of laws on equality but this kind of scenario will help much more.”

Story continues below…

Marlière believes Delanoë’s choice to anoint Hidalgo as his would be successor made it impossible for the other parties to put up their “traditional male” candidates to oppose her.

If Paris elects its first female mayor it could also give a boost to the chances of a woman becoming president of the Republic for the first time.

Could Hidalgo or NKM follow in the footsteps of former mayor and president Jacques Chirac from the Paris Town Hall to the Elysée Palace.

“I think it’s definitely in the pipeline,” Marlière said. “I don’t think the French are ready to elect a president from an ethnic minority like an Obama figure but they’re much closer to having a female president.”

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'War crimes committed in Aleppo': French UN envoy
A tractor clears rubble after a government strike on rebel areas of Aleppo. Photo: Thaer Mohammed/ AFP

France's envoy to the United Nations has called for an urgent Security Council meet on the war crimes he asserts are being committed in Aleppo.

'Curse of Phantom' strikes as Paris theatre burns
Anthony Crivello and Elizabeth Loyacano in the New York production of Phantom of the Opera. Photo: Really Useful Group

The curse of Phantom of the Opera has struck with a fire at a Paris theatre threatening the musical's French debut.

Two teenage girls held in France over 'terror plot'
The girls came from the same part of Nice, near Route de Turin, as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who carried out the nice attacks. Photo: Jesmar/Wikimedia Commons

Two teenage girls from Nice are being held on suspicion of planning a jihadi attack.

Focus
French fighter jet deal: India 'a school of patience'
Rafale jets at an assembly hanger in Merignac, southwestern France. Photo: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP

The less-than-supersonic sale of French Rafale fighter jets to India has highlighted the obstacles facing foreign arms firms seeking to do business with the world's biggest weapons importer.

Hollande vows to 'completely dismantle' Calais Jungle
French President Francois Hollande visiting a refugee centre in Tours. Photo: Guillaume Souvant/AFP

President Francois Hollande has bowed to right-wing pressure and stepped up pledge to combat illegal migration.

First driverless minibus goes on trial in Paris
Gilbert Gagnaire, Director General of Easy Mile, poses in front of his driverless EZ10 minibus. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

The French capital's transport authority will carry out its first test of a driverless minibus on Saturday.

Feature
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
Receptionist Ivan Lopez in his tiny "chambre de bonne". Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Thousands of Parisians round off a hard day's work with a trudge up six flights of stairs to a tiny, stuffy room they resignedly call home.

Former president Chirac still in hospital but wife home
Bernadette Chirac executes a deal at the French Stock Exchange on September 12. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Former French president Jacques Chirac remains in hospital in Paris but his wife Bernadette has now been discharged.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

Cameron school pal appointed UK ambassador to France
Ed Llewellyn has spent time in the European Commission. Photo: Gov.uk

Ed Llewellyn attended the Eton College at the same time as former PM David Cameron, and then served as his chief of staff throughout his eleven years as Conservative leader.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
Society
Bordeaux hospital ranked as best in France
National
France rolls out 'world's first' driverless buses
Society
15 things a Frenchwoman can do to feel more British
Culture
Every fact you need to know about France's 'départements'
2,730
jobs available