Monday, Jul 22

Macron eyes to conquer big cities in general elections

After dynamiting France’s mainstream parties, French's Emmanuel Macron is turning his mind to re-election and the need to make inroads in the last bastion of the old establishment: 35,000 town halls
11.07.2019 - 17:05

Municipal elections are still eight months away, but French President Emmanuel Macron is already plotting a course to conquer cities big and small. His ruling party on Wednesday picked former government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux to be its candidate for Paris.

MACRON IS ALREADY PLOTTING A COURSE TO CONQUER CITIES BIG AND SMALL

Conquering cities such as Marseille, Lyon or Bordeaux is crucial to building a local power base for his party, La Republique En Marche (LREM), which he created with a handful of aides in 2016 as a vehicle for his presidential campaign.

Back then, he promised a grassroots movement that would revolutionize France’s highly centralized political structure. But his failure to connect with ordinary people is one reason he was caught badly off-guard by the anti-government yellow-vest protests that began in October.

“It’ll be essential for him to have a good showing,” said Claude Dargent, researcher at Sciences-Po university in Paris. “It’ll be an opportunity to win local bastions, because that’s also how you win a presidential election.”

Mayors, whether of small rural communes or large cities, are influential in local politics and, as the deliverers of policing, transport or planning services, are often citizens’