In the context of the resignation of the mayor of Saint-Brevin-les-Pins (Loire-Atlantique), the government presented, Wednesday, May 17, several measures to protect local elected officials. “These announcements join our old demands, but are formulated urgently, under pressure, regrets Jean-François Vigier, deputy treasurer general of the Association of Mayors of France and UDI councilor of Bures-sur-Yvette (Essonne). Every time a mayor resigns, the Republic backs down. »
Immediate decision: the launch by Dominique Faure, Minister Delegate in charge of local authorities and rurality, of a Center for analysis and the fight against attacks on elected officials. “We have already set up an Observatory of attacks on elected officials and asked for feedback from our departmental associations, recalls Jean-François Vigier. We would like to be closely associated with this new centre, which must be the result of collaborative work between associations of elected officials and the State in order to cross-reference tools and data. »
Increase criminal penalties
On the penal level, the government has undertaken to toughen the law in order to apply aggravating circumstances in the event of violence committed against the holder of a public elected office, as is already the case for the depositaries of the public authority (magistrates, law enforcement, etc.), which includes mayors under their hat as representatives of the State. This hardening had already been provided for by senatorial amendment in the law of orientation and programming of the ministry of the interior (Lopmi), before being censored on the form by the Constitutional Council.
“Announcing more firmness is good; but we should already apply the circulars which require prosecutors that no complaint by an elected official for aggression be dismissed,” insists Michel Fournier, president of the Association of Rural Mayors of France. The city councilor of Voivres (Vosges) added: “We need a response of educational value within 48 or 72 hours, so that the author of verbal or physical violence does not come to taunt the elected official the following days. »
In fact, the associations of elected officials all agree: the human and financial resources available, on the one hand to the police or the gendarmerie to investigate, on the other hand to justice to instruct and judge, are insufficient. The Association of Mayors of France also asks “that the limitation period for threats on social networks be extended”: “Three months as at present, it’s too short”, insists Jean-François Vigier.
The question of authority
Another question is a consensus among elected officials, that of the recognition of authority, that is to say the legitimacy of the power to make oneself obeyed. “We ask the Minister of National Education to reintegrate learning to respect authority from an early age,” continues Jean-François Vigier, also president of the UDI group at the Île-de-France regional council. Democracy also means that everyone accepts the decision of an assembly or an executive. Overlaid on it is the incomplete French-style decentralization, where the mayor does not have all the levers, in particular fiscal, to freely administer his community.
“Violence has always existed in society, but it has become commonplace, whether elected, firefighter, doctor or teacher: the slightest exchange can always end in violence”, adds Michel Fournier, who has him – even been a victim several times. His proposal: on the occasion of the next municipal elections, in 2026, “to organize an official swearing-in ceremony for mayors, like other corporations that represent authority, which would have an educational value vis-à-vis the population “.
Finally, Michel Fournier regrets that the conditions for exercising an elective mandate are always approached by the State “in small bits”, while the Association of rural mayors of France has long been calling for “a real status of the elected local “.