It is in his town hall in the 7th arrondissement, rue de Grenelle opposite the government parolat where his ex-rival Benjamin Griveaux had his office for a little over two years, that Rachida Dati received Le Parisien – Today in France this Friday in the early evening. The LR candidate for mayor of Paris is all smiles. Good opinion polls are probably not for nothing. This week, a poll gave it to Anne Hidalgo, and two others on the heels of the outgoing PS mayor.
The arrival of Agnès Buzyn in the race for the Hôtel de Ville? Barely her subject, she eludes, preferring to designate Hidalgo as a rival. Nicolas Sarkozy’s ex-Keeper of the Seals uses his district as a field laboratory. Do not look for revolutionary urban projects or the creation of giant parks in the capital: it assumes pragmatism, brandishing very concrete measures around security, cleanliness and housing, its favorite themes.
Safety and cleanliness are the two favorite themes of Agnès Buzyn. Isn’t she a more dangerous opponent than Benjamin Griveaux?
RACHIDA DATI. If Agnes Buzyn wants to copy the program, let her copy it! I had intuitions related to my assessment of mayor of the 7th, where I tested devices – in terms of security, cleanliness, solidarity – which have shown their effectiveness. I decided to draw inspiration from it to develop a program nearby. I am the only alternative to Anne Hidalgo.
So the mayor is your main opponent?
My main opponent is logically the outgoing mayor, with a chaotic, appalling balance sheet. Insecurity, the state of the roads, cleanliness! Roads, streets, sidewalks … Everything is smashed. They are no longer potholes, they are chicken coops! I can’t bring myself to let Paris decline. However, this decline is the balance sheet of Mrs. Hidalgo.
Who could you ally with in the second round? Can you win Paris on your own?
We are on the first round, that of fundamental choices. The alliance or poaching strategy is what Benjamin Griveaux did without success. I made the choice to propose a project to federate the Parisians. Obviously, no one can win alone. Neither me nor Hidalgo.
When will you ask yourself the question of alliances?
The evening of the first round, depending on the scores, will ask the question of the best way to turn the Hidalgo page.
SECURITY, CLEANLINESS: ITS PROPERTIES
What is the meaning of the measures that you will present on Monday?
The first demand of Parisians is tranquility and cleanliness. When, in a city, you cannot walk safely, on all levels – getting a scooter on a sidewalk, pickpocketing, assault – that is a problem. Two indicators are essential. First, the number of crimes and offenses per year and per capita, which is above the national average in the capital. Then, the rate of elucidation which decreased in Paris.
You wish to set up an armed municipal police. How? ‘Or’ What ?
I want 3,400 field workers, up from 2,900 currently. They will be equipped, as in all major cities, with lethal weapons, bulletproof vests and a fleet of screen-printed vehicles, equipped with siren and beacon, to combat everyday delinquency. At four years of the Olympics, I do not imagine not having an armed municipal police.
What would be its organization?
The boroughs will have a central role. In each, there is a municipal police station with a video protection supervision center. I will triple the number of video surveillance cameras. Today there are 1,360 cameras to protect them from delinquency. At the end of my term, there will be 4,000, one for 550 inhabitants. Each borough will have a security assistant and municipal police officers assigned to it. I will set up a direct telephone line for all the inhabitants, so that they can contact their agents. My system will also include a victim assistant in each arrondissement.
What would be its role?
I did it in the 7th. This assistant supports victims in their procedures: complaints, finding a lawyer, referring them to a doctor to find an ITT if necessary … When I was Keeper of the Seals, I created the judge for victims. In Paris, I will give this deputy the authority to allocate grants to victim assistance associations.
What would you do to make the city cleaner?
The City has increased the pedestrian area by more than 30% without reviewing the organization of cleanliness. It is becoming increasingly dirty because since 2001, the direction of cleanliness has not changed. One pilot is needed for cleaning and another for garbage collection. We must develop the mechanization of tasks, generalize modern tools, such as compacting bins that do not overflow when they are full. Madame Hidalgo says that Parisians are dirty. But what do they do with their garbage when the bins are full? The use of artificial intelligence must be developed. There are new tools to clean up big cities. Vacuums, air cleaners that polish the sidewalks! In addition, power must be given to borough mayors. They would be in charge of part of the cleanliness, the roads. My goal is a clean city seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
TRAFFIC IN PARIS
Who says cleanliness says roads. What do you propose ?
On the roads, I redo everything. The mayor of Paris has spread in many places of poor quality imitation tar. You have to put in real raw material. To better manage the works, it is necessary to apply the method that I use in the 7th: I inform the residents when there are going to be construction sites. Then, I summon the operators and I plan the work so that they are not carried out at the same time in the same place. I don’t want noise at 6 am with trucks unloading. It is therefore necessary to set up schedules with the town halls and agree on the number of trucks mobilized. And if there is a delay, the borough mayor applies to the court to enforce penalties as I do in the 7th.
What do you offer on transport?
I am working on a mobility scheme with experts, with fluidity as a priority. I will protect the sidewalks for pedestrians. I will put order in the public space. Mrs. Hidalgo wants to reduce the number of scooters from 30,000 to 15,000. However, this is not a question of number but of regulation. In my diagram, I make long paths for pedestrians and bikes. For example when you arrive at the end of the rue de Rivoli, you do not find yourself in the chaos of the Place de la Concorde as today but there is continuity up to the avenue des Champs-Elysées .
You wanted to remove diesel in Paris…
No, I did not say that diesel should be stopped in 2024. I just said that it was the meaning of history and that one day it would have to happen.
Are you in favor of reopening the bank tracks on cars?
It will be the Parisians who will decide at the end of the consultation on the mobility scheme.
What about your budget program?
First, I would like to launch an audit via an independent body on all of the city’s finances. I would like to flatten out all of the city’s public markets because spending overruns are almost systematic. Then, I want to put an end to all the City’s accounting tricks that are used to camouflage the debt. Let me give you an example: capitalized rents. The City arrogated itself 60 years in advance of capitalized rents from social landlords: nearly 1.2 billion euros in 5 years. This type of system is to be banished, it is a headlong rush which distorts the sincerity of the accounts. You have to be a good manager, the mismanagement is enough! Finally, I would like to make a real inventory of the assets – non-financial – of the City of Paris whose amount amounts to 23 billion euros. This includes land in Orly, in Ivry-sur-Seine … I assume to propose disposals of non-strategic assets to reduce the debt.
Do you make commitments on taxation?
I do not increase taxes during the mandate and not even indirect taxes. Ms. Hidalgo said that she would not raise taxes but increased the prices for municipal services. Everything has been increased indirectly!
Precisely, you do not increase or decrease?
I strongly reduce all municipal rates related to families and the elderly. The middle and middle class are paying full price. For example, the maximum rate for the canteen which is currently 7 euros, I lower it to 3.50 euros.
Housing is also a concern…
Madame Hidalgo’s social housing policy is either cynicism or ease, or punishment or contempt. There is an ideological vision but no reflection on a homogeneous distribution and a composition of the park tenants corresponding to Parisian sociology. In the west, she bought a few homes at gold prices, often unsuitable for real needs. In the east, it densifies and concentrates the difficulties. As a collective in the Ménilmontant district told me, poverty is added to poverty. I am a child of social housing and social housing plays its role when there is diversity. We need a balanced housing policy throughout the country, which does not punish some and does not despise others. And there is an urgent need to change the role of social landlords. They think of an allocation of housing for life while the life courses of Parisians (separation, departure of children from the home) require fluidity and mobility.
Many requests for social housing are not provided…
Of the 250,000 pending requests, almost half do not come from Parisians. I wish to change the award criteria in order to favor people already living in Paris. I will reserve accommodation for nursing staff, security forces, soldiers, retired guards and guards, all those who take care of Parisians.
The mayor of Paris has increased the number of social housing…
The City says that it is at 21.5% and that it will arrive at 25%. But there is a scandal. In its 21.5%, the City bought buildings occupied by middle classes at market prices. It is still 21,000 homes! Surloyers are then applied which can go up to three times the initial rent. Tenants from the middle classes must either pay or leave. I think there is a legality problem there. I will put an end to these scandalous practices of abusive eviction of the middle classes from Paris.
Fast forward. We are in 2026, we are coming to the end of your mandate as mayor of the capital. How has the face of Paris changed?
Paris will be a safe city, a clean city, a city where the social bond is preserved, a city which lives and not a city which folds up and where each one confronts. A city alive and at peace.
They travel for miles in the capital. Rachida Dati’s pink sneakers roam the streets with ardor. A dynamic campaign, which aims to give the image of a beautiful unit within LR in the capital. The reality is more nuanced. In the 5th arrondissement, the former group leader LR at the Paris Council, Florence Berthout, joined LREM a few months ago. A real shock on the right, especially since he followed the official rallying during the summer of another LR mayor, Delphine Burkli (IXth) to Benjamin Griveaux, no longer feeling in tune with the ideas of his party.
“Florence Berthout felt in danger for her re-election and Delphine had already distanced herself from her,” Dati told the Parisian without appearing the least bit affected. But that’s not all. In the 16th arrondissement, when Francis Szpiner was officially inducted, LR will face the dissenting candidacy of outgoing mayor Danièle Giazzi and another elected borough official, Céline Boulay-Espéronnier. In the 15th, mayor Philippe Goujon, who refused to announce that he would support Dati, saw his replacement for the LR federation of Paris, Agnès Evren, land in front of him.
These dissident candidacies are also reproduced in the 11th or 8th centuries. In short, the family photo was damn cracked. But, Rachida Dati has an asset up her sleeve: her surveys on the rise. Because if she refuses to mention future alliances, she knows that the dissidents will be forced to embrace it to allow the right to recover the keys of the Town Hall, left on the left in 2001. The “bulldozer” method will Dati be the right one? If it fails in late March, it will take a lot to put the pieces back on the right.