Friday, March 7, 2008

how it works

There's a late runner in the elections, we found out last night. M. Chèvre is now standing as an indépendant. Just to explain how it works:

Normally, 11 people get together and present themselves as candidates for the Conseil Municipal or parish Council. This liste comprises some incumbent members of the Council and as such represents a continuation of the last administration. The head of the liste is usually the person chosen by them to be mayor. In many small communes this is very often the only liste. I'll call it the first liste.

Here, however, the last administration has been criticised for not being democratic or open. The plan local d'urbansime (PLU), which decides what land is constructable, was passed by the committe with the minimum legal consultation and would appear to favour certain families. Many people have a grievance with this, so this year, in addition to the first liste there is also another liste of 11 (the second liste) plus three indépendants - M. Chèvre, BB and our pal M. Boule De Billard. You can have any number of people on a liste up to 11 and you can also vote for anyone in the commune - even if they aren't on a liste - by adding their name to a liste when you vote.

On Sunday the first 11 people to get more than 50% of the votes will be elected and those 11 will then decide which of their number will be mayor. These 11 people, including the mayor, make up the Conseil Municipal.

If less than 11 people get 50% of the votes (as is likely), it goes to another vote the following Sunday to choose the remaining number in a 'first past the post' ballot. The disadvantage of standing as an indépendant is that there is a tendency for some people to vote for a whole liste. The advantage is that if someone doesn't like an individual on a liste, they will probably vote for an indépendant to make up the 11.

BB thinks he won another two votes from today's canvassing – surprisingly from one of the members on the second liste and his wife. There's an unwritten rule that everyone on the liste votes for their liste but M. Rollet has promised to vote for BB if BB promises not to vote for him. At 83, he says he's too old and is only standing to make up the numbers.

Elsewhere in the canton, the police have been called out on half a dozen occasions now to deal with violence between opposing candidates. They really take their politics seriously here.

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