In the shadow of the presidential election
35,000 municipalities and more than 500,000 local elected representatives. 500 mayoral signatures of support required for each presidential hopeful. For outside observers, these vertiginous numbers may come as a surprise. A legacy of the French Revolution, this system has undergone many reforms over the years, with the creation of multiple political and administrative layers that are often criticised for their costliness, tangle of responsibilities and questionable effectiveness. With presidentialism clearly dominating today’s institutional system in France, what is the role of these many local authorities, and how much influence do they wield? By Elsa Dimicoli.