Anne Hidalgo: She wants to be first

Anne Hidalgo has been mayor of Paris since 2014, she wants to succeed Macron

Anne Hidalgo, born in 1959 in San Fernando (Spain), already holds the title of first female mayor of Paris. Now she wants to become the first female French President.

Her office is considered one of the most beautiful in the entire city, some even claiming it is more beautiful than that of the head of state in the Élysée Palace: Dark wood paneling and high stucco ceilings frame the view from the 150-square-meter office out onto the Seine, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the famous blue-grey roofs of Paris. Just over half the people of Paris hold Anne Hidalgo in high regard and elected her to her second mandate last year – after her first success in 2014. To her supporters, she is a visionary of sustainable urban planning and equality, to her critics, she is a left-green fool.

In mid-September, Hidalgo announced to run in the 2022 presidential elections and was officially nominated by the Socialist Party as a representative in October. The heart of her policy is to be the fight against “social and territorial inequalities”. But at the moment the odds are stacked against her: in current polls, Hidalgo scores between 4 and 6 percent.

Traffic policy has fans and enemies

“Politically non-existent”, “pretty brunette” and “token woman” were the media headlines when Anne Hidalgo ended her first career as a labor law inspector in 2001 and was appointed deputy mayor of the capital. But there is not much left of the low-profile newcomer today. Her decision to appoint significantly more women than men to leadership posts led to a lawsuit last year.

Hidalgo’s urban planning also has society divided with its many innovations. The almost city-wide speed limit of 30 km/h, the permanent expansions of street cafés to parking lots, and the expansion of bike lanes are a reason to cheer for the many. But motorists are furious with the mayor. Above all for people from the banlieues, who have few alternatives to the car and are now stuck in long traffic jams every day, these measures have little to do with the promised social justice and equality, but with snobbish and unrealistic environmental policies.

Anne Hidalgo is always close to the people and wants to build bridges with her own life story. In 1962, Hidalgo’s parents left Andalusia, which had been shattered by Franco’s dictatorship, and began a new life with their two daughters in the south of France near Lyon. In 1973, the entire family received French citizenship. The 14-year-old Ana became Anne.

As the first presidential candidate with dual citizenship, Hidalgo is particularly concerned about migration. A rise like hers – from an immigrant child from a precarious background to a high-profile politician – should not remain an isolated case: “I want all the children of France to have the same opportunity that I got.” Giorgia Grimaldi

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