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Monday, 17 March 2014

French local elections - for two candidates, Henriette Frantz and Elise Machado, age makes no difference

Recently nonagenarians Arthur Richier and Roger Sénié decided to call it a day - politically speaking.

At 92 and 93 years of age respectively and after more than 60 years each in the job, both men thought better of standing yet again to be mayor of their villages.

But they are (almost) mere babes (all right, let's not exaggerate) compared to Henriette Frantz.

She has decided to put herself forward as a candidate in this year's local elections...at the age of 100.

The former headmistress occupies the last but one position on Yves Crubellier's list for the far-right Front National (FN) in the town of Saint-Genis-Laval (population just over 20,000) not far from the city of Lyon.

"I've always been to the right of the political spectrum," she said. "But at the same time I'm not really that politicised," added the woman who also stood at the last local elections for the FN back in 2008.

"I’m really happy to be a candidate because I think I can make a difference. The future isn't bright and I long for a serenity that no longer exists," she continued.

"Marine (Le Pen) is good, but she does not have the same stature as her father (Jean-Marie)," she said, admitting that the founder of the FN had made some errors in the past, but they had "to be excused".

Frantz isn't the oldest candidate seeking election though. That honour goes to a 103-year-old woman in Marseille, according to official statistics published by the interior ministry.

Henriette Frantz and Elise Machado candidates in the French local elections (collage of screenshots from France TV info)

Meanwhile at the other end of the age scale is Elise Machado who'll be standing as a candidate in the village of Le Mémont (population 41) in the département of Doubs in eastern France.

At just 17 years old, Machado is the youngest candidate in this year's local elections, beating the minimum age limit of 18 required to be eligible to stand because...well, her 18th birthday falls on March 22, the day before the first round of voting.

Machado says the decision to stand "represents the first steps in her adult life."

"It doesn't necessarily mean I'm interested in politics which sometimes appears a little 'fuzzy' (sounds as though she's pretty clued up already)," she said.

"What interests me most is to give my opinion on what happens in the village in which I've lived since I was born."

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