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French have ‘good opinion’ of local mayors, poll shows

Most French people have “a good opinion” of their local mayor, even as confidence in MPs and politicians in general is low, a new survey has found.

The survey by pollsters Ifop was organised by the government and French mayoral group the Association des Maires de France (AMF), and published in le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday August 11.

It showed that 83% of French people have a “good opinion” of their local mayor. Yet, the same poll found that just 33% of the public would say the same about their MPs or senators.

Just 30% of the public felt that elected officials are generally “competent”, and 70% felt that “political careers are too long”. Two thirds (66%) said that elected officials “make too much money” and “have too much power”.

Just 26% of people said that their elected representatives are “close to citizens’ worries”, and only one in five (20%) said that they believed officials to be “honest”.

The poll comes amid a rise in vandalism directed towards residences of national ministers. The survey found that 44% “understand” these actions, even if they do not agree with the vandalism.

And while 47% condemned the actions, 10% said they “unreservedly approved”.

In the same article in le Journal du Dimanche, AMF president François Baroin said: “Those who hate politicians, hate the French Republic.”

The results also come in the same month as Jean-Mathieu Michel, the mayor of Signes (Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur), was killed after being run over by a van when trying to stop the driver from allegedly dumping illegal waste.

Mr Michel was very popular in his commune, and his death has provoked an outpouring of grief and tributes.

Inhabitants of Signe held a minute of silence in the street to honour him, and it has also since been announced that he will receive France’s highest merit, La Légion d’Honneur.

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