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Standing for local Council elections


Judie
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Our commune is looking for council members and as I have lived here for nearly 6 years now and am registered to vote, I'm thinking that I would like to do my bit to help our impoverished commune ( 55 voters!! ). Does anyone have any experience of this? I don't want to take someone else's place but feel I could offer another point of view and am keen to help.

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Hi Judie

There are several of us who are standing as candidates.  You need to speak to the person/people who are standing for Maire, in our small commune there were two, each of whom prepared a list (adjoint plus 9 people for the council).  The two candidates got together, the one with most experience as adjoint is now standing as mayor, the other as deputy and the lists have been culled and amalgamated so there will be no real election.

Apparently I was on both lists and I'm now on the combined one which is being announced this morning at our annual new year fete.  The real expert on this is Val_2 who has been a counsillor for some time in her commune.

Edit: Should have asked, where are you Judie?

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Thanks for your reply Tony.

I spoke to my neighbour yesterday who is encouraging me to stand. He said that there hasn't been a list prepared in our commune in rural Normandie for more than 20 years. This is apparently because no one opposes the current maire and there aren't enough people who want to stand to exceed the 9 councillors - as I said in my earlier post, 55 voters in the commune in total means that they struggle to get enough support. Apparently 3 have stood down, which is why I thought I might try.

I also want to know more about what is expected of an elected council member.

Judie

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Yet another attempt at a response - it keeps timimg out.

The commune needs Judie (or anybody else with a fresh approach come to that), who works in the area and is well known, by French as well as British. Not only the fact that it has so few voters, so the three British-owned households (plus three or four holiday homes) make up a substantial proportion of the population. Not that anybody should expect preferential treatment - just that hopefully the other British may be encouraged to take more of an interest in local affairs, register as voters, etc. It would be good to have representation from other than the agriculteurs (M le maire) and retraités (the rest).

It is indeed an impoverished commune. According to http://www.linternaute.com/ville/ mean annual household income is just 9045€, which probably puts it among the poorest, as well as among the smallest, in France. Even so I am sure it could do better than one 5m string of Christmas lights, several of which don't work, and that nobody could be bothered to put up last time round.

The community needs you - go for it gal [:D]

 

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This is my 7th year on council and am standing again on March 9th. I warn you that you must be able to speak fairly good french and be available at all different times and days for commissions and meetings and they can go on and on and on too.You will have a high profile locally and as that,be subjected sometimes to complaints and problems that need sorting so if you have the confidence, why not! Folks will decide with their pen on the day whether they want you or not.
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Just back from the fete and voila, I was presented as part of the list - now a mix of the people with council experience and the newbies, of which I am one!

What's really interesting is that so many of the French people here are supporting me - lots of reasons, lots happened since we arrived three years ago, some of which has been very difficult but which I dealt with on behalf of the commune so they think I may be able to do something positive to help.

And I'm now signing up for a two week intensive French course in Perigueux so that at least I have an 80% chance of understanding what's going on when there are 6 people in a room holding 4 different meetings.

Val, how do they allocate the Commissions? I've made it clear I don't like children and don't do old people - I worked in that field in the Uk and have had enough - but have expressed an interest in the ?cantonelle meetings on tourism and environment or recycling.

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Thanks Val and well done Tony.

As far as the language is concerned, I came here with A level French and have been employed in the french community since 2003 so I hope that my French will be up to it - it would obviously take time to assimilate new vocabulary; but it's more a case of whether the commune wants new blood or not - we'll see!

 

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Well here it was disected by the maire at the first official council meeting and the elus who were interested in that particular commission volunteered themselves foreward. I was interested in tourism and apart from the representing the village at the office which covers three villages here I am also an elected board member. I had to write and ask to be considered for the post in the beginning as the elu who was representing us decided she had done it long enough. If you are not interested,then make it quite clear and for what you would like to be involved with. I am on about six different ones with a council of 15. Our new list consists of three of us remaining and 12 newbies,one who will be the new maire after 31 years of the current one and because they are all new like I was 7 years ago, I don't feel in the slightest intimidated when I was originally,being the third youngest with three in their late 60's and who seemed to run everything between them. There are some nice perks too.
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Yes. You get invites to other communes for expos,discussions etc and the usual "pot" comes out, we get a slap up meal yearly for sitting through some five hours of commune accounts with the local Percepteur and I have gone on tourism trips for new ventures, departmental days with the CMJ and have just been asked to go the Vosges on a fact finding mission to start a twinning with a CMJ there but unfortunately cannot go. We also have a drink at the end of the monthly official sessions and there are various other association do's.Finally we get to head Le Repas des Anciens for all the over 70's in the commune which lasts several hours with several courses of food waitress served etc,I get a terrible hangover with the old fellas keep topping my glass up and mixing the wines.
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Think he would have to hide round here because the majority voted for Ségolene and there are also a lot of communists as well. I did meet Marylise LeBranchu when she was a minister and she is also a local politician round here still.
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I was asked some time ago by the Maire if I'd be interested in being on his list, and then a few days ago he invited himself round for aperos along with his adjoint and asked me formally.  I explained my worries that my language skills might not be quite up to the task, but they both seemed to think I would be able to cope.  I asked if I could come along to their meeting tonight to see how I get on, before giving my final yes or no to their proposal. 

There is only one list, the Maire's (he's been in power just about 25 years!) so I guess if I'm on the list then I'm in.  I've spoken to some of the other councillors that I know, and it sounds as if it's a "challenging" team of people I'm possibly about to join.  I can't make up my mind whether I'm being offered a poisoned chalice or not [blink]

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Cathy if it is of any help I felt the same seven years ago when I was confronted by the maire and his adjoint knocking at my door. Now I know how people are selected to join the list its a case of who is and who isn't liked or wanted to represent the commune. I have also noticed that no one who rents their home is ever asked but perhaps that is because there is a high percentage of renters in France who only stay for a few years and then move on elsewhere.It really comes down to the case of having confidence and if you feel you can stand your ground, then you should have no problem.
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[quote user="Val_2"]Think he would have to hide round here because the majority voted for Ségolene and there are also a lot of communists.[/quote]

That's an interesting point Val. In our commune (where Judie is considering standing) Sego got no votes at all in the first round and only a handful in the second, whereas the FN has quite a bit of support. So I suppose she will need to appear pretty right wing (I'll start saving her the Daily Mail as well as the Saturday Telegraph [:D])

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Can I just point out a fact that may worry some potential candidates and that is that on council I have NEVER ever been subjected to any sort of political influence. We do not and have never ever discussed national politics and only the commune's wellbeing is our aim which does not include politics as in parties and who votes for who nationally. The only time it got heavy was when Chirac's reign was coming to the end and everyone wanted a clean broom,hence 90% turnout for Ségolene. Therefore whatever your personal views on presidents,prime ministers etc, don't let it interfere with what is best for your constituents as regards the commune and it's finances.
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[quote user="Will"]

[quote user="Val_2"]Think he would have to hide round here because the majority voted for Ségolene and there are also a lot of communists.[/quote]

That's an interesting point Val. In our commune (where Judie is considering standing) Sego got no votes at all in the first round and only a handful in the second...

[/quote]

Unsurprisingly, Will (in view of size and make up of communes being similar and as you're about 45 minutes to the south of us) Sego didn't do that well in our commune either - Sarko got the commune vote by a landslide both times. Le Pen just trailed Sego in the first vote.

TOH has been asked to join "a list" - and he has agreed. It has been suggested to him that he should indicate his political leanings for the benefit of the electorate though the council isn't political in itself...

It's nice to see that there are a few newer British arrivals (Val being part of her commune furniture by now [:D]) being approached to stand for election.

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Now been to see the Maire who was very welcoming but refuses to have a list in such a small commune - I was wrong when I said 55 voters, it is fact 55 inhabitants and 39 voters! He says that so much jealousy is caused  by having a list ( " why did you ask him and not me " etc ), that he and the 6 remaining elus will stand with 3 spaces on the voting form for voters to add in their candidates. Bit of a cop out in my opinion, but he obviously wants to get re-elected one more time and is a harmless chap, and probably the best of the bunch. He has advised me to put a piece in the local paper and I have said I will also put a mailshot through the commune's letterboxes. He seems to be pretty pro but doesn't want to appear so, because of the reason above. Apparently there are 4 possibles plus me, so I expect that 3 of those will get in rather than me as I am far more active in the neighbouring commune where I work, but nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

 

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At the risk of hi-jacking this topic and turning it political, Sarko wasn't very popular either with our commune in the first round - Bayrou was the strong favourite, probably due to his farming links. Most of our electors are farmers, or retired farmers.
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Hello Judie,

 Go for it .  Do you mailshot , rather than the local rag 'advert ', at least all the villages will have a glance , even if they then chuck it away

  Be careful about visits from the Mayor--adjoint etc, they are too often either looking for 'yes men' ( or women) in order to keep out opposing views.

 Whatever part of Normandy you are in ,local councils do need more female participation, there is in most of rural France an overwhelming majority of my fellow men.  Good luck.

  Slight deviation -- I was accused recently of " having a tone thet left a lot to be desired "   this from a future candidate in local elections,

 already member of  the local  'comité de fete ' who to qoute  "does'nt like children "   " does'nt do old people "  is taking a crash course in French in order to understand what will be said in meetings; declares his political colours  ( don't boast too much about that during local compaigning ) then goes on to ask about the perks.  Well Bravo !

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[quote user="red"]

  Slight deviation -- I was accused recently of " having a tone thet left a lot to be desired "   this from a future candidate in local elections,

 already member of  the local  'comité de fete ' who to qoute  "does'nt like children "   " does'nt do old people "  is taking a crash course in French in order to understand what will be said in meetings; declares his political colours  ( don't boast too much about that during local compaigning ) then goes on to ask about the perks.  Well Bravo !

[/quote]

It's true that it is sometimes difficult to judge the tone of a post.  Not always though, sometimes the real agenda behind the post is as clear as day.  Depends on how it is written I suppose.

 

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