Firefighters of the health and energy crises, mayors served as an outlet for the violence released during the riots and attacks against them are expected to increase by 15% in 2023, even if they “resist” the crises, according to a Cevipof survey published Sunday by Le Monde. With nearly 8,000 respondents, the 5th Cevipof survey carried out for the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) two days before its congress obtained an “exceptionally high” response rate, comments its author, political scientist Martial Foucault.

A sign according to him that elected officials had “messages to convey”, five months after the spectacular car-ramming attack on the home of the mayor of L’Haÿ-les-Roses (Val-de-Marne). After a 32% increase in attacks in 2022, or 2,265 complaints and reports, the Ministry of the Interior is counting on a further increase of 15% in 2023. In total, 69% of mayors interviewed by Cevipof declare having already been victims incivility (16 points compared to 2020), 39% having suffered insults and insults (10 points) and 27% having been attacked on social networks (7 points), physical violence remaining rare.

Another lesson, the rate of resignations of mayors has increased by 30% compared to the previous mandate, with more than 1,300 counted since 2020, a figure revealing “republican fatigue”. Among the explanatory factors, Martial Foucault mentions a “feeling of helplessness” among mayors, faced with the increasingly complex and time-consuming reality of their mission. The mayors also cite the “too high demands of citizens” and the difficulties in reconciling the exercise of the mandate and personal or professional life. The insufficiency of compensation only comes in 7th position.

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Asked what should be changed, 50% suggested increasing their emoluments, at the expense of the State. “If they are not committed to making money, they are not prepared to lose it either,” notes the author. The mayors are also asking for an increase in the credit hours granted by their company to exercise their mandate and the establishment of a mandatory minimum number of absences financed by the company. Aged on average 60 years, 8 out of 10 mayors are men and 40% are retired.

They devote on average 32 hours per week to their mandate and receive an average level of remuneration comparable to the hourly minimum wage (10.85 euros gross) in the smallest municipalities, double for those with more than 50,000 inhabitants. With nearly a million candidates for municipal elections, local commitment is “not yet threatened” and “mayors are resisting the accumulation of crises”, concludes the author, even if there is a need according to him to “revise the conditions of exercise”.