Will Madame Le Maire Unlock Our Love?
CASTING YOUR VOTE FOR MADAME LE MAIRE
I came home late Sunday night from Pisa to municipal election results in France and what is particularly interesting — the mayoral race in Paris.
This was the first round of a two-round election which takes place over two consecutive Sundays. The campaigns end at midnight the Friday before the election date and then on Election Sunday, by law, no polls nor electoral publications can be published or broadcasts made that could influence voters.
“The two-round system (also known as the second ballot, runoff voting or ballotage) is a voting system used to elect a single winner where the voter casts a single vote for their chosen candidate. However, if no candidate receives the required number of votes (usually an absolute majority or 40-45% with a winning margin of 5-15%), then those candidates having less than a certain proportion of the votes, or all but the two candidates receiving the most votes, are eliminated, and a second round of voting occurs.” (Wikipedia.org)
This year is interesting because the National Front (FN) is showing record wins thanks to a record-low unpopular Socialist president, François Hollande. In a two-party system, the FN is showing such strength that one might consider it now a three-party democracy! Hollande’s own party took only a 43% share of the vote nationwide. Right wing parties, including the UMP (Sarkozy’s party) secured 48% of the vote. Even Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent scandals don’t seem to be affecting the strength the UMP is predicted to have in the second round, and everyone is attributing their success to Hollande’s failures — high unemployment and low economic growth. He’s the most unpopular president in French history with a 20% approval rating.
Usually the French strongly turn out to vote, but not this time. Record lows in the last 50 years were reported with under 55%, down from 2008’s 56.25%, however the second round is expected to close with about 65% voter turnout.
I’m personally watching the mayoral race here in Paris between two women — a first for Paris to have a Madame Le Maire in office. UMP Party candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (known as NKM) took 35.6% of the vote over Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate, with 34.4%, who is also the current first deputy mayor. Predictions are that she will have a better showing next Sunday when left-leaning parties will throw her more support and that Ms. Hidalgo will move into the 150 square meter apartment at the Hôtel de Ville. But, ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings!’
Women still aren’t well represented in French politics in spite of the high numbers in the work force (80%). Only about one-quarter of the National Assembly and the Senate are women. Locals are questioning how that will change the face of the city, as there are other women mayors in large cities across France, such as Martine Aubry in Lille. But if there were to be a woman in the Elysée Palace?…now that’s another story!
LEAVE IT TO AMERICANS TO UNLOCK YOUR LOVE
In this week’s 20 Minutes Métro magazine two New Yorkers, both named Lisa, got credit for being at the forefront to help save Paris’ bridges from getting locked up fatally — Lisa Anselmo and Lisa Taylor-Huff. Lisa Anselmo just happens to be a contributor to one of our upcoming House Hunters International episodes.
Lisa writes a blog title “My Part Time Paris Life.” She is also author of “No Love Locks,” a blog supporting the cause to stop the damage being done to the bridges of Paris. Those that seek to profess their love have taken to padlocking a lock onto the mesh of the bridges then throwing the keys into the Seine. It started in 2000 and is growing by leaps and bounds, not only in Paris, but all over the world. Some claim it started in Rome on the Ponte Milvio thanks to a 1992 book “Three Meters Above the Sky” that later became a film. But one in Serbia can be traced back to pre-World War II when a schoolmistress fell in love with a Serbian officer.
Sadly, while love is an admirable emotion, the love locks are causing serious damage to the primary two bridges affected: Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché. There is concern that the weight (literally tons) will cause a fatal accident. A section of the Pont des Arts was already replaced as a result. The locks are regularly being taken away by city crews (about every six months), but it’s expensive and the damage may not be irreversible.
If you want to sign the petition and support Les Deux Lisas and their cause, visit change.org/organizations/no_love_locks and help get the message to Madame Le Maire!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(with Lisa Anselmo)
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