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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Caroline Bartoli, a more than reluctant politician running for mayor

With the first round of voting in local elections in France just over a month away, things are becoming interesting.

All right. Let's not exaggerate.

Most people probably aren't that captivated by the possible outcome.

Anyway, one thing that's certainly receiving its fair share of media coverage is the race to become mayor of Paris.

It's politics at its most professional - that doesn't necessarily mean at its best - likely to go to a second round slugfest between the Socialist party's Anne Hildalgo, the "heiress apparent to the current mayor Bertrand Delanoë,  and the centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP) candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (NKM).

Those two make the headlines often enough - so let's not spend too much time singing their praises or analysing their chances.

Just to say that opinion polls put Hildalgo in the lead at the moment

But that might begin changing now that NKM - who according to genealogists is a descendant of Lucrezia Borgia (and no, that has nothing at all to do with this piece, just an interesting titbit to throw into the conversation at dinner parties perhaps) has the official backing of one of the country's political heavyweights.


Yep, the former president (and president-in-waiting?) Nicolas Sarkozy showed up at NKM's most recent rally in Paris on Monday evening to liven up an event as only he can.

"I'm here because Nathalie is a friend," he told reporters.

"She was a courageous and intelligent spokesperson during my (presidential) campaign and the least I can do is to show my gratitude for that."


Nicolas Sarkozy présent au meeting de NKM "par... par BFMTV

From the pomp and professionalism of politicians with greater aspirations, how about looking at the other end of the spectrum.

Someone who's standing albeit reluctantly.

How about someone few French had ever heard of...until her appearance on France 3 last week.

Caroline Bartoli is the candidate of the wonderfully-named Divers gauche (DVG), or Miscellaneous left in the race to become mayor of Propriano, a town in the south of Corsica.

Caroline Bartoli (screenshot France 3 Corse)

And Bartoli only seems to have one campaign policy - to keep the seat warm for her husband, Paul-Marie Bartoli.

You see, he (Paul-Marie) is the current mayor, but for legal reasons, is ineligible to stand - some problem with previous campaign funds apparently.

That "disentitlement" (grabbing around for a synonym here) will be lifted in May - sadly, for Bartoli (Paul-Marie), two months after the elections.

What to do?

That's where Caroline steps in to show her mettle, putting in a Q&A performance on France 3 Corse last Thursday of which any aspiring politician would be...er...proud.

When her candidature was announced in January, Bartoli (Caroline) declared she had "no desire to start a political career" and true to her "promise" the interview on France 3 showed exactly that.

Bartoli was convincing in her lack of political nous, resorting to reading answers that bore little relation to the questions asked.

Take a listen to the interview. It's only five minutes long. You might learn something in the art of how not to answer any of the questions posed by a journalist.

Bartoli's response at around two minutes 30 when asked about how she would deal with building permits and the problem of too many holiday homes pretty much sums it up.

She consults her notes...can't find the right answer...and so replies, "I'll continue my husband's policy" seemingly unclear as to what it was or is.


MUNICIPALES - En Corse, Propriano c'est une... par France3CorseViaStella

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