Villes de gauche, villes de droite
Trajectoires politiques des municipalités françaises de 1983 à 2014
Left-wing towns, right-wing towns
Political trajectories of French municipalities from 1983 to 2014
At each municipal election, certain commentators announce results as being broadly dependent on national conjuncture. Others claim that the fate of elected officials depends above all on the local situation.
With a view to anticipating swings to the left or the right during these elections, the authors have analysed the results of a panel of 236 towns with more than 30,000 inhabitants, over a 30-year period (1983-2014). They investigate the local and national criteria liable to explain the success and defeat of candidates, whilst also demonstrating why certain incumbent municipal teams are systematically re-elected, regardless of the national political situation.
A typology of factors that embed (or not) towns within a partisan allegiance can be seen here. This demonstrates the decisive role of the town's sociodemographic profile, in which the key variable is the proportion of residents in public housing, and emphasises the importance of the economic and financial performance of mayors, as well as the political strategy that they employ to ensure their re-election.
This is an astute and unprecedented observation of local electoral dynamics, which continue to be driven by the left-right dialectic, and which have a significant impact on national politics in France.
Martial FOUCAULT, university professor at Sciences Po, director of the Centre de recherches politiques de Sciences Po (CEVIPOF).
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