Anne Hidalgo, a Spanish-born Socialist, was elected the first female mayor of Paris Sunday in local elections.
“I am the first woman mayor of Paris. I am aware of the challenge,” Hidalgo said in a victory speech after defeating the candidate of the conservative right, former minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.
Hidalgo, 54, served as a deputy mayor under the French capital’s outgoing mayor Bertrand Delanoe for 13 years. Delanoe has been in the mayor’s seat for the past 12 years. Hidalgo, who will serve as mayor for the next six-year term, worked under Delanoe for the past 13 years.
Hidalgo claimed 54.5 percent of the votes in the second round.
Born in Cadiz, in Southwestern Spain, in 1959, Hidalgo moved to France as an infant and grew up in a working class suburb of Lyon, and became a French national at the age of 14.
She was employed as a works inspector, and then became an adviser to former Labour minister Martine Aubry, who orchestrated France’s 35-hour working week.
Hidalgo was head up for a promotion at the ministry office, after François Hollande was elected president in 2012. But, she chose to remain at City Hall and wait for the chance to take over the mayor’s seat from Delanoe.
She has promised major investment in the public sector with her administration, including 10,000 new housing units and 5,000 kindergarten places. She also vowed to put forth efforts to improve transportation, and increase green spaces in the city. Hidalgo wishes to reverse the trend of middle class and working class people moving to the suburbs of Paris.
Hidalgo now joins other eminent women who have taken over in major cities around the world. Women who currently hold office as mayor include Ana Botella in Madrid, Carolina Toha, who runs Santiago, Chile, and Patricia de Lille, who heads Cape Town, South Africa.
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