20 March, 2014

The four main candidates in their corner before the first round of municipal elections

Le dernier débat entre les quatre principaux candidats aux élections municipales s'est fait plus virulent à l'intérieur de chaque camp, à savoir entre Laurent Gérault et Christophe Béchu d'une part, et entre Jean-Luc Rotureau et Frédéric Béatse d'autre part, comme si les challengers voulaient défier les favoris. Au-delà de la virulence des attaques, il apparaît que les futurs élus de la ville devront se concentrer sur l'essentiel car les ressources de celle-ci ne permettront pas de faire autrement.

Frédéric Béatse
The second of the two debates organized by Angers medias made appear some convergence between programmes but also some deep divisions between candidates and especially those who are on the same side. That was more visible than afte the first debate, even if, during the largest part of the 120 minutes meeting which took place on March 19th, each of the nine candidates stayed in his or her own lane. The toughest remarks were exchanged between Jean-Luc Rotureau and Frédéric Béatse and between Laurent Gérault and Christophe Béchu, a phenomena which suggests that splits will be very difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

Christophe Béchu
The first part of the event, dedicated to the resources of Angers city, was an opportunity for Jean-Luc Rotureau to point out the "worrying situation" of the municipal finances. After that one said that the debt would raise from € 53 millions in  2014 to 120 millions in 2016, the outgoing mayor, Frédéric Béatse, replied that he was "aghast with those incredible attacks" from his former deputy-mayor and assured things will be under control. While the investments of the town will sum up to € 75 millions in 2014, the figure will be lowered to 55 millions during the next term. But things were no more kinder on the right.

After Christophe Béchu, once again blamed for the finances managment of the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire, promised he will not raise taxes and reminded some of Laurent Gérault's proposals (the lenghtening of the tramway first line and free transports on weekends), that one said that his rival's promises (a new bridge and a new museum) were only a "catalog" as a "politician way to do policy" and warned that those schemes will lead to new taxes. "Noboby will believe you when you say you will not raise taxes", claimed Laurent Gérault to Christophe Béchu.

Laurent Gérault
Regarding the housing, things were a little bit more consensual, on the right and left sides. Christophe Béchu is alarmed by the number of empty apartments in Angers (around 4 000) and by the over-density of the new real-estate operations, something which led Frédéric Béatse to consider that his conservative challenger "didn't know his files". But, it looks clear that, in the years to come, the policy of Angers city will be reoriented towards individual models rather than towars collective programmes and to a lower activity of the real-estate sector.

Jean-Luc Rotureau
A direct confrontation took place about the allocations of Angers associations between Frédéric Béatse and Christophe Béchu, the last one blaming the first for a "lack of transparency" of the allocations policy. In return, the first reminded that this policy was in fact worked out with the associations and accused Christophe Béchu of "intellectual dishonesty".

Jean-Luc Rotureau was, one more time questioned about his behaviour after the first round. After that one assured that "he will be part of the second round", given the likelihood of the score above 10% he will reach, the left candidate said "he will make up his mind" about a withdrawal or an upholding on the evening of Mach 23rd, and "not before".

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