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Friday, 4 April 2014

Local elections in France and the case of Maurice Fritel - a very bad loser

The battles have been fought, the results have been digested and the post-mortem has been done.

The French local elections are over for another six years.

Up and down the country, mayors and their councils are now busy installing themselves comfortably while the losers are returning to life as normal.

Well not quite. At least not in the village of Saint-Germain-d'Aunay (population 174) in the département of Orne in northwestern France.

You see the former mayor, Maurice Fritel, has left those who will succeed him, a less than pleasant welcoming gift - or two.

Maurice Fritel (screenshot France 3 television report)

First up, Fritel, who hadn't been planning on for standing for re-election as mayor for health issues but wanted to remain on the council, decided to dig up the only path leading to the salle polyvalente, or village hall, making it impassable for vehicles other than tractors or four-wheel drives.

The 69-year-old was well within his legal rights as although the land on which the village hall stands is public property, the path he ploughed and which leads to the building...well that belongs to him.

(screenshot France 3 television report)

But Fritel, who had been mayor of the village since 1978 didn't stop there.

He also "nicked" all the chairs from the mayor's office: chairs he had himself "donated" to the local council some years back.

"People who supported me asked me to remove him (Fritel) from the list," the newly-elected mayor, Louis Toqué, told France 3 television.

"They were the same people who had stood against him in the last elections and his removal from the list this time around clearly upset him."

You don't say!

Fritel is far from being contrite though.

In fact he seems rather amused and satisfied with himself.

"I didn't hide anything from anyone," he said. "All you have to do is take a look at the property register to see that the land belongs to me."

The cost of building a path (on communal land) allowing vehicles access to the village hall will be around €6,000.

Sounds like a great place to live.

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