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Why so many elected officials are throwing in the towel

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  • 1 “A more than critical situation”

  • In Morbihan alone, 730 elected municipal officials have resigned since the last elections, in 2020. “That makes four resignations per week. Among elected municipal officials, the resignation rate reaches 15% while it is only 2.7% in the private sector, ”notes Hicham Abbad, director of the association of mayors of France (AMF) of Morbihan. “We are obviously in a more critical situation than during previous mandates. A situation which is not specific to Morbihan because it is similar in the other departments ”, specifies, for his part, Yves Bleunven, president of the AMF of Morbihan and mayor of Grand-Champ (56).

  • 2 “Not a Long Quiet River”

  • In South Finistère, the mayor of Tréogat, Jean-Pierre Miagoux, has just submitted his resignation, citing “a state of great moral fatigue”. “Municipal life is not a long calm river, comments Yves Bleunven. There can thus be tensions, contradictions, opposition”. To explain so many resignations, the regional president of the AMF and mayor of Saint-Grégoire (35), Pierre Breteau, first points to the conditions for the installation of the councils, three years ago. “It was in the middle of Covid-19, that is to say in poor starting conditions. The elected officials had to constantly manage the emergency and all the projects were shifted or delayed”. “It’s not a normal life at the start of a mandate”, maintains Yves Bleunven. Since the last municipal elections, 13 mayors have resigned in Ille-et-Vilaine and as many in Finistère, as well as 11 in Morbihan and 9 in Côtes-d’Armor.

  • 3 “An energy-intensive function”

  • “What worries me the most is the function of mayor”, insists Pierre Breteau. “It is an energy-intensive function, confirms the president of the Morbihan mayors. We must be careful that this function does not jeopardize a professional situation and this, in terms of allowances, pensions… We must make the function more attractive”.

    Pierre Breteau denounces the red tape. “We spend our time having contradictory orders,” he said. We are sometimes asked to add impossible equations. There is work to be done on administrative simplification”. “Budgets are getting tighter and tighter,” adds Yves Bleunven. And when you understand that you will have to do with less than expected, it can break the motivations of some people”.

  • 4 Attacks, threats and requests for protection

  • Mayor bitten in Plouégat-Moysan (29), death threats in Brest, kick in the face in Plouisy (22), spitting and slapping in Rosnoën (29)… In 2020, attacks on elected officials were multiplied by three. On social networks, elected officials are regularly attacked. “On these networks, people can denigrate elected officials in a free and easy way under cover of anonymity, indicates Yves Bleunven. The sentinel of the Republic represented by the local elected official exposes himself to the general atmosphere and this, currently, is not terrible”. “Very affected, the elected officials are not armed in the face of the attacks perpetrated on social networks, notes Hicham Abbad. The prefecture has never received so many requests for functional protection”.

  • 5 “Protecting, defending and training elected officials”

  • “We must protect and defend elected officials, underlines Yves Bleunven. More and more, I am a civil party to defend elected officials. “What worries me the most is the preparation for the office of mayor, announces Pierre Breteau. There are municipal teams who are elected without knowing what awaits them. For example, in Germany, they have mandatory training that we don’t have. Me, I was elected mayor on a Sunday and, two days later, I had to go and announce a suicide. I didn’t even know that was part of my job.

    The next municipal elections are to be held in 2026. Will there be enough candidates? “It worries me, answers Yves Bleunven. In 2020, there were already fewer applications. In Morbihan alone, there was only one list in more than 70 municipalities. This is not a normal functioning of democracy”.

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