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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Local elections in France - Loc-Envel the village in Brittany with one candidate for every five inhabitants

You might remember a couple of weeks ago, a piece about how difficult it was for some villages in France to find candidates to stand for mayor in the upcoming local elections on March 23 and 30.

Well, in the village of Loc-Envel in the département of Côtes-d'Armor in Brittany, there's a problem of quite a different sort.

Too many people, it seems, want to get involved in local politics.

The current mayor, Jacques Le Gorju, has been in the job for the past 20 years but has decided not to run again for office.


At 76 he says he "has done enough" and that his "wife is tired" (???).

Jacques Le Gorju soon-to-be former mayor of Loc-Envel (screenshot Canal + "La Nouvelle Edition")

Now, quite often in small villages in France - and Loc-Envel, with a population of just 80, is one of them - "power", if you will, is handed down from generation to generation.

Or, when a mayor decides not to run again for office, someone else from the current council will head a list made up - well more or less - of the same people who are already in office.

And that might well have been what Le Gorju had been counting on. Someone from the current council would head a list to fill the seven available seats and...basta.

There would be no complaints, no opposition and everyday (political) life would continue just as it always had.

Except neither he, nor any his supporters presumably, counted on a "mutiny" of sorts "within the ranks" as one councillor, the current second deputy mayor Virginie Doyen, decided she had had enough of the old guard and wanted to do things her own way.

The 36-year-old Doyen has put together an opposing list of four other women and two men who will "be motivated" and " bring skills and new ideas to the village."

So electors will have a choice, which can't be a bad thing.

Except divisions are already occurring in the 80-strong community and are likely to lead to a bitter battle.

With just seven places on the council "up for grabs" and two lists of seven candidates, being presented, there is, in a sense, one candidate for every five inhabitants.

And just to add to the fun, as in all villages in France with a population of less than 1,000, Loc-Envel voters can cross out or remove names from lists while voting.

In other words, the count will based on votes cast for each individual and not the lists. 

So who'll end up being mayor or even sitting on the council is...well, just about anybody's guess.

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