In the all-women race for the capital of France, the 54 year-old Anne Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party (PS) and the deputy mayor under the outgoing incumbent, beat her rival and became Paris’ first-ever female mayor.
On March 30 (local time), AFP and other local media outlets reported that Hidalgo got 54.5% of the vote and won against Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (45.5%), Hidalgo’s counterpart from UMP and former Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Transport.
This is the first time in the history of Paris to elect a female mayor since 1977 when the office of mayor of Paris was recreated. From the collapse of the Paris Commune until 1977, Paris had no mayor.
The office of mayor of Paris is considered a shortcut to the presidency. A case in point is Jacques Chirac who was elected as the president of France in 1995 after serving 18 years as the mayor of paris. Accordingly, chances are high for Hidalgo to emerge as a presidential candidate for the next French presidential election in 2017.
The Spanish-born Hidalgo comes from a working-class family. As a two-year old, she moved to France with her family. At the age of 14, she became a French citizen.
Starting her career in the public administration as work inspector, she served as the deputy mayor for 13 years under Bertrand Delanoe who took office as the mayor since 2001. They launched Velib’, the bike-sharing program.
Following on from the success of Velib’, Hidalgo campaigned to start Scootlib', a scooter-sharing program. To attract votes from the middle and working class, she also promised to expand a walkway along the banks of the Seine and create new social housing units and kindergarten places.
In a victory speech, Hidalgo who will lead Paris for the next six years said “I am the first woman mayor of Paris. I am aware of the challenge.”