Paris Elections 2020 – Meet the candidates!

With the mayoral elections on March 15th and 22nd, Parisians have the opportunity to choose between several projects and elect their representatives for the next six years. To help you navigate this campaign, here’s short portraits of the main candidates for the position of mayor of Paris.


Agnès Buzyn (Center)

Following the sudden exit of her party’s candidate Benjamin Griveaux, Agnès Buzyn was chosen as the new standard-bearer of Macron’s centrist party LREM on February 16th. A hematologist and university professor who presided the national Institute of Cancer, she was France’s health minister from May 2017 until joining the race. She has been criticized for leaving that job during the Covid-19 crisis and her handling of strikes in the public hospital beforehand, but seems to reassure centrist voters more than her predecessor did. Demanding a “safer and cleaner” Paris, she has provided some much-needed damage control after Griveaux’s difficult campaign, despite originally not being a professional politician.

Strength: the Parisian demographics favors her party, which received 33% of the votes in Paris during the last European elections

First-Round Polling at: 17-20% in February-March


Anne Hidalgo Portrait Light Mathieu Delmestre

Anne Hidalgo (Progressive)

The incumbent mayor of Paris took her time before officially announcing a bid for reelection last January. The daughter of working-class Spanish immigrants, Hidalgo was the deputy mayor of her predecessor, the socialist Bertrand Delanoë, from 2001 to 2014. That year, she led the a coalition of the Parisian left to a third term, becoming the first woman to hold the office. Her signature achievements include increasing the social housing supply, and limiting the use of private cars in favor of developing bike lanes and expanding pedestrian space instead — policies for which she faced intense criticism from conservatives and car owners alike. Her rivals have also criticized her due to rising petty crime and the urban renovations that have increased traffic in some neighborhoods. If she delivers and offers the left a fourth consecutive term, she will cement her position as one of the most prominent progressive politicians in the French political landscape.

Strength: two decades of experience in City Hall, a progressive track record, and the expected support from other left-leaning candidates after the first round

First-Round Polling at: 23-26% in February-March.

Cédric Villani Portrait Light
© Le Nouveau Paris

Cédric Villani (Center)

A fanciful mathematics genius and laureate of the Fields Medal turned politician, Cédric Villani joined Macron’s presidential campaign in 2017. Last year, his party LREM designated his rival Benjamin Griveaux to head the Parisian race after a keenly contested internal campaign. After considering the matter during the summer, Cédric Villani announced he would run as an independent candidate and therefore without the support of his party. He has since been excluded from the movement, and the resignation and replacement of his former rival does not seem to come with improved polls. Beyond his call to use modern technology for a smarter city, he has been holding talks with the Green party that could lead to a “climate coalition”.

Strength: an original project including the expansion of the Paris limits and digital tools to make life easier in the city, a compatibility with other candidates that should make him a useful ally for the second round

First-Round Polling at: 7-10% in February-March


David Belliard Portrait Light Eric Coquelin
© Éric Coquelin

David Belliard (Green Party)

The youngest candidate in the race at 41, David Belliard comes from a rural, working-class family. He settled in Paris in the early 2000s before working for the association Sidaction that raises awareness about Aids. He later kept writing part-time as a journalist for Alternatives Économiques following his election at the Council of Paris in 2014. He was chosen as the Green Party candidate last summer following an internal campaign, but his bet to overtake Hidaldo’s traditional coalition and become the leading figure of the Parisian left has yet to be validated. His campaign seems to have been a source of inspiration for many candidates, with most lists now claiming green credentials and calling to halt some of the incumbent’s new urban projects. David Belliard is also the only candidate for City Hall who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Strength: Eco-friendly policies are more popular than ever among Parisians – the Green Party ranked second in Paris in the 2019 European elections with 20% of votes

First-Round Polling at: 10-14% in February-March


Danielle Simonnet Portrait Light
© Décidons Paris

Danielle Simonnet (Progressive)

The daughter of artists based in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, Danielle Simonnet is a well-known figure of the neighborhood and has been a local elected official since 2001. A leading left-wing opponent to Hidaldo’s own progressive coalition, Danielle Simonnet has partnered with former PSG-player Vikash Dhorasoo to lead a citizens’ platform based on a participative approach to local democracy. Their list is the only one clearly calling for a referendum over the organization 2024 Paris Olympics. Many of her proposals, such as free public transportation and a rent control set under the soaring Parisian market prices, aim to make life more affordable for working and middle-class residents.

Strength: Knows the local context and has kept her independence from the incumbent mayor, whereas most local Green representatives were part of Hidalgo’s coalition

First-Round Polling at: 5-7% in February-March


Rachida Dati (Right)

A former Minister of Justice under president Nicolas Sarkozy, Rachida Dati has been the mayor of the bourgeois 7th arrondissement (the one with the Eiffel tower!) since 2008. Born to a Moroccan father and Algerian mother, she achieved a stellar political career following her law studies. She remains a leading conservative figure and is known for her acute political skills. Her current campaign relies on the traditional pillars of the right, security and cleanliness: a recipe that should be enough to convince many of Western Paris’ affluent and often ageing households. She could be a threat to Anne Hidalgo’s position in case her conservative party Les Républicains manages to forge local alliances with Agnès Buzyn’s centrist forces before the second round. However, the divisions of Parisian conservatives in their strongholds of the 15th and 16th arrondissements will surely be detrimental to her campaign.

Strength: Her political experience, name recognition, and the significant boost she gained over the past few months following Benjamin Griveaux’ disastrous campaign

First-Round Polling at: 20-25% in February-March


The independent citizens’ movement Parisiennes, Parisiens also has candidates in most arrondissements. It is also the case for the right-wing populist Serge Federbusch and the fairground owner Marcel Campion.

The campaigns of Agnès Buzyn and Rachida Dati did not provide a portrait of their respective candidates.



Illustration : the candidates Danielle Simonnet (© Décidons Paris), David Belliard (© L’Écologie pour Paris), Anne Hidalgo (© Paris En Commun), Cédric Villani (© Le Nouveau Paris), Agnès Buzyn (© Paris Ensemble), et Rachida Dati (© Engagés pour Changer Paris).


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