Young and old take up mayoral roles

Seventy years separate the oldest and youngest mayors in France following the local elections

30 March 2014

SEVENTY years separate the oldest and youngest mayors in France following the local elections.

Marcel Berthomé was re-elected for the ninth time as mayor of Saint-Seurin-sur-Isle (Gironde) in last Sunday’s first round of voting.

The soon-to-be-92-year-old, who describes himself as being in “perfect health” became France’s oldest mayor after 93-year-old Arthur Richier decided not to contest the election in Faucon-du-Caire, a small village in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

Mr Berthomé, who served with Britain’s Royal Air Force during the Second World War and has also served in Indochina and Algeria, has been mayor of the 3,000-strong town in northeast Gironde, on the borders of the Dordogne since 1971, and won this year’s election with 1,117 of the 1,378 votes of the local electorate.

Speaking to France 3, he described himself as belonging to any political party because his party “is France”, and said: “If I had any doubts, I would not have stood.”

At the other end of the political age range, student Robin Reda was elected mayor of Juvisy-sur-Orge, Essonne, at the age of 22.

The UMP candidate ended 43 years of continuous socialist mayors when he beat incumbent mayor Etienne Chauffour in the first round of elections for the 15,000-strong town just south of Paris.

The final-year student said his interest in politics came at a very young age. He told Liberation that he recalled chanting “Vote Jacques Chirac!” when he accompanied his parents to the polling station for the second round 2002 presidential elections.

He admitted to feeling “nervous” before starting his new role, but said he was clear on what he wanted to do for his town.

Photo: France 3 / screengrab

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