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Retired, working, artisan; who are France’s 34,900 mayors?

We look at what the data says about these elected officials in each commune

More than 80% of France’s 34,900 mayors are men Pic: shocky / Shutterstock

We look at what the data says about these elected officials in each commune

The men and women who make up France’s 34,900 mayors come from a broad range of professional backgrounds and ages. We look at what they do and what the data says about them.

Who are France’s mayors?

Pic: Visactu / The Connexion

What do mayors do in France?

The modern role of mayor has existed since the French revolution. As the closest elected representative to their constituents, mayors play a crucial role, particularly in smaller communes.

However, mayors are not directly elected by the people in their commune, but rather voted for by their fellow municipal councillors.

The councillors, including one who will become the mayor, are elected for a mandate of six years. The last municipal elections were in 2020.

Once a mayor has been chosen by the council, they have a broad scope of authority.

Their primary role is to carry out the decisions of the municipal council. In this capacity, mayors are charged with:

  • Managing municipal resources (including function rooms, buildings and heritage sites)
  • Overseeing contracts (including for building projects)
  • Preparing the budget (including schools, and managing debts)
  • Managing legal action
  • Liaising with other officials (communes, departments and regions)

Mayors also have certain policing powers, particularly those relating to public order.

As agents of the state, they ensure the day-to-day functions of the Republic within their commune, organising local elections, performing marriages, publishing laws and bylaws.

Once in office, the municipal council cannot remove a mayor. However, it can withdraw some of their responsibilities and can put significant pressure on the mayor to resign.

Read more:

12 things you can do at your mairie in France apart from get married

Hundreds of French mayors quit due to ‘Covid and increased workload’ 

French mayor bans Sunday afternoon hunting to make walkers safer

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