how the ecologist without a party conquered the town hall of Annecy

how the ecologist without a party conquered the town hall of Annecy

On June 28, François Astorg, 59, became mayor of Annecy. Two months after his election, return to the path of the ecologist who tipped the city of Haute-Savoie towards change after 66 years of center-right.

© Clara De Beaujon

When asked about his political orientation, François Astorg removes his glasses and raises his eyebrows. A surprisingly difficult question for the new mayor of Annecy, the prefecture of Haute-Savoie. If he was a member of Europe Ecologie Les Verts from 2009 to 2016 and elected ecologist to the city council of Annecy from 2014 to 2020, the 59-year-old man claims to be more attached to his project for the city than to labels . Position consistent with the movement which made him elect, “Réveillons Annecy”. The group of rather young women and men, sensitive to questions of ecology, democratic renewal and social justice, has “largely” approved it (according to the 5th on the list Chantale Farmer, deputy mayor of Annecy and member of the majority), to become their top of the list. He combines good knowledge of the economic world, essential in this territory of entrepreneurs, and ecological convictions, without having the image of a left-wing candidate, unacceptable for part of the Annecy electorate. On the evening of the first round, he was slightly ahead of the outgoing mayor Jean-Luc Rigaut – UDI and supported by La République en Marche (LREM). In the middle of the towers, he allies himself with Frédérique Lardet, LREM deputy and dissident candidate of the presidential party, and finally wins the elections with 27 votes in advance.

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Such a small gap with his rival Jean-Luc Rigaut, it was not the first time. When he stood for his first cantonal elections in 2011, he was beaten by less than 200 votes by the center-right man then mayor of Annecy. François Astorg loses the election but takes a liking to the countryside. “We push you (at the time within EELV, editor’s note) and it’s not unpleasant,” he recalls. For 10 years, he gave up politics a bit: co-founder of a consulting company, he notably participated in the processing of the data of the Grand Débat. An activity that he combined until recently with courses in human resources or public speaking. His eloquence is also hailed by Benjamin Marias, 3rd on the list and now assistant coordinator. this close friend of Astorg praises his capacity for listening and empathy when Chantale Farmer, describes a man “upright and benevolent. ”

Annecy for 19 years

François Astorg in his office in Annecy. © Clara De Beaujon

© Provided by Paris Match
François Astorg in his office in Annecy. © Clara De Beaujon

A successful charm act, therefore, for a man who is not yet from the corner. Born in the Paris region, he discovered Annecy when he stayed with his brother, who lived in the city. With his companion Eva Mutter, they decide to move to the Venice of the Alps to “have a child”, in the words of the person concerned. In 2001 the family moved in and welcomed a little girl, Dune, who began in September with the “bac covid in my pocket”, as her dad called it, studying fashion design in Paris. The couple will therefore find themselves alone, him at the town hall, she assistant of school life in a college in the city center. Beyond the private sphere, these two are found in politics in the agglomeration of Grand Annecy (which brings together 34 municipalities of the Annecy basin). Eva Mutter is the deputy advisor for the tramway and the flow of goods, him vice-president for infrastructure and public transport. Mobility is the new mayor’s big hobby. Among the notable ambitions, the construction of a tram on the west shore of Lake Annecy.

The project has dragged on for years and nothing has yet been built. François Astorg intends to inaugurate the first section between Annecy and Duingt before the end of his term of office. An idea that makes a member of the old majority giggle: “Who will put 200 million euros in a project that concerns 10,000 people?” », Out of the 200,000 in the Agglomeration of Annecy. Moreover, as mobility is a competence of the agglomeration, why not have applied for his presidency, which he left to Frédérique Lardet at the time of the alliance between the two rounds? “I have more power to act by being mayor of a town of 130,000 inhabitants within Greater Annecy”, assures François Astorg. The piles of files on his desk bear witness to this, the new mayor has his work cut out for him: all the projects in progress must be re-examined to make them compatible with the energy transition. And as if that were not enough, the former city councilor takes office during the Covid-19 epidemic. A situation which “empowers” his function even more and makes him take full measure of his task.

A suspended mandate

The slow but thoughtful elocution to talk about Annecy, François Astorg remains more secret about his life outside of politics. Almost invisible on the web, the sailing enthusiast does not want to mix genres. Fairly little known in the city he runs, we recognize him in the street since the evening of the first round only. During the interview granted to Paris Match, he consults his tablet: “Hey, I have lots of new friends for a few weeks”. Apart from interested acquaintances, he must also manage competitors thirsty for revenge; Jean-Luc Rigaut, the former mayor, lodged an administrative appeal with the Grenoble court since 80 powers of attorney were forgotten in a city gendarmerie during the second round. With a difference of less than 30 votes, they might have changed the outcome of the ballot. Will François Astorg have to put his chair as mayor back into play in the coming months? Justice will decide.


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