Paris arrondissments: Smashing the snail

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FRENCH CONNECTIONS – Thurs. 18.02.16: This week, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo caused quite a stir. She presented City Council with a controversial plan to change the capital’s administrative organisation. Currently, Paris has 20 arrondissements, or administrative districts, which spiral out of the centre like a snail’s shell. Hidalgo wants to smash the snail.

She wants to merge the first four arrondissements, Paris’s smallest and least populated, into one super arrondissement. The mayor says this will make Paris more democratic and efficient. Critics on the right accuse her of political and electoral manipulation. They say Hidalgo is trying to secure long-term Socialist domination by reducing the number of arrondissement mayors from centrist or conservative parties and turning Paris into a giant “bobo” paradise. 

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