The ecologist Michèle Rubirola elected mayor of Marseille after a crazy week

couple Marc Leras

MARSEILLE (Reuters) – Ecologist Michèle Rubirola was elected mayor of Marseille on Saturday thanks to the rallying of ex-PS senator Samia Ghali and after an incredible week of political negotiations and tensions, no list can claim alone to an absolute majority in the municipal council.

The head of the Printemps Marseille list, who becomes the first woman to become mayor of the second city in France at 63, won in the second ballot with 51 votes to 41 for Guy Teissier, candidate for the right LR who was his only remaining opponent.

“I will be the mayor of all Marseillais in transparency and dialogue”, she declared after having girded the tricolor scarf. “Clanism, nepotism, clientelism have lived,” she added.

Candidate in the first round, in the morning, Samia Ghali had finally decided after long negotiations to withdraw her candidacy before the second round, which allowed the new mayor of Marseille to be elected without having to go through a third round.

Michèle Rubirola, Guy Teissier and Samia Ghali had applied for the mayor’s chair of the second city of France after 25 years of the reign of LR Jean-Claude Gaudin, who did not stand for re-election after four terms.

“Madame Michèle Rubirola is now mayor of Marseille, the first woman to carry out this magnificent mission. And I congratulate her on this election,” said the former mayor in a press release.

The poll on Saturday took place without the 9 elected members of the National Rally of Senator Stéphane Ravier, beaten in the 7th sector he held since 2014, who did not present a candidate and did not participate in the vote by leaving the hemicycle before the ballot.

“We leave the negotiations, the schemers, the carpet merchants, those who trample democracy and the will of the Marseillais, between them”, explained at the start of the session their leader, who vainly proposed in the week a “pact “to elected LR.


Le Printemps marseillais – a gathering of left-wing parties, environmentalists and community activists led by Michèle Rubirola – came out on top on the evening of the second round, winning four of the city’s eight sectors and obtaining 38.3% of the vote, or nearly 13,000 votes ahead of the LR lists led by Martine Vassal (30.8%), who has since given way to Guy Teissier as candidate for the chair

But the distribution by sectors of the municipal councilors reduced this advantage, with 42 elected officials for the left rally of Rubirola and 39 for LR, the eight elected officials of Samia Ghali playing from the role of “kingmakers” in an assembly where the threshold of the absolute majority is fixed at 51 votes.

Several hundred activists from the Printemps de Marseilles gathered on Saturday morning outside the town hall to demand “respect for democracy and the result of the vote”.

All week long, the negotiations on the left list with Samia Ghali, winner in her sector of the northern districts of the city, had collapsed at the senator’s request to become first deputy, which Michèle Rubirola refused.

But new discussions took place Saturday between the two ballots of the municipal council. “I decided not to apply and support Ms. Rubirola,” said Samia Ghali when she returned to the chamber, ending the suspense.

In this crazy week, the LR right had changed it candidate Wednesday, the head of the list Martine Vassal withdrawing in favor of the deputy Guy Teissier. Aged 75, he could have been elected for the benefit of age in the event of a tie on the third ballot.

But also on the right, the suspense had increased a notch when Lionel Royer-Perreaut, substitute of Guy Teissier, had announced Wednesday his intention to be a candidate by denouncing the “temptation of an agreement with the RN”. He finally gave it up.

The division of the city into eight electoral sectors of two districts each provided for by the PLM law complicated the designation procedure.

(edited by Henri-Pierre André)