Corrected subject – Municipal elections, the function of the mayor and its evolution

→ The 2014 Sciences Po Bordeaux history answer keys

Municipal elections, the function of mayor, 2014 developments

The instructions were as follows:

In view of the documents making up this file and based on your knowledge, you will present and analyze, in the form of an organized and written assignment, a reflection on the municipal elections, the function of the mayor and the latest developments that occurred on March 23 and 30, 2014.

You will find all of the documents in the file on this page thanks to an internet user, L.P.

Document analysis:

This is about capturing the essence of the documents. What are the main ideas of the different documents presented to you, 5 in numbers this year 2014? What are the main ideas defended?

Document 1: Christian LE BART, “Municipal Elections.”

  • Law of April 5, 1884: starting point for the election of municipal councilors
  • Alexis de Tocqueville is cited, a name that every Sciences Po student should know for their 19th-century sociology/philosophical work.
  • Identity symbolism

In this excerpt, the symbolism of identity is clearly the main idea of the text.

Document 2: “Municipal candidates: why do they get involved?” – La Vie

Two main motivations are highlighted in these excerpts:

  • “to confront my speeches with practice” Clotilde Grolleau
  • “proximity with people” Nadine Kerdaudy

Note 2 is important: in 2008, 13.9% of mayors were women, compared to 10.9% in 2001

Document 3: Diagram of the different types of elections for the 2014 municipal elections

Perhaps the most interesting part of this document was the diagram regarding: How to vote: what is changing this year 2014.

Since the instruction clearly stated these changes in 2014, it was a matter of understanding them well.

Sujet 2014 Sciences Po Bordeaux sur les municipales

Document 4:2014 municipal elections: the right now has a majority in cities.

In this document, most of the information is in the title. The document does not in itself contain any particularly in-depth remarks or analysis. Sciences Po Bordeaux draws your attention to the results of the 2014 municipal elections, the consequences of the vote, and the new right/left distribution of cities.

Document 5: Patrick VENRIES – Editorial in the Sud Ouest newspaper – Monday 3l March 2O14

Here Sciences Po Bordeaux is kind of enjoying itself with this article. The Sud Ouest newspaper is distributed free of charge to all Sciences Po Bordeaux students (and faculties) every day. The date of March 31 is very close to the exam.

The character of the article: editorial should tell you right away that it is an opinion expressed by a journalist, and therefore a position taken.

“A page in the political history of the Socialist Party was turned yesterday” is the key position defended by the error. Patrick Venries then goes on to state the arguments that confirm what he considers to be a “route”: unpopular president, clumsy government, period of crisis, local sanctions.

And he reminds us that the voters “make the kings” in a democracy. This reflection is interesting because it is highly controversial, and constitutes a classic debate: in a democracy, is it really the people who govern?

Analysis of the question:

In view of the documents constituting this file and based on your knowledge, you will present and analyze, in the form of an organized and written assignment, a reflection on municipal elections, the office of mayor and the latest developments that occurred on March 23 and 30, 2014.

In view of the documents: Sciences Po Bordeaux, once again unpredictable, has done quite well this year by presenting particularly recent documents, i.e. a few days or even weeks before the competition. The exam question being particularly precise and targeted current affairs 2014, there is obviously a will this year to reorient the competition towards documents. Indeed, the documents were your best help this year to orient your reflection.

Based on your knowledge: the wording still does not change from the other years, it is above all a composition subject, where you must highlight your own knowledge.

Municipal Elections: This is a study of the concept of municipal elections from an abstract perspective. What is the role of municipal elections, why do we hold municipal elections? These are the foundations of democracy that you should discuss here.

The function of the mayor: same reflection, but this time changing sides. You no longer study the citizens, their choice, their vote, but the side of the mayor, the one who has been elected, the one who governs the city.

The latest developments on March 23 and 30, 2014: again, you have to step back from that data. By making such a precise, recent statement, Sciences Po Bordeaux forces you to remain concrete, to be in the realm of reality, and at the height of current events. However, it is always a reflection, which is why it is good to consider current and recent facts in their consequences on the life of citizens. It is a “reflection”, a greater distance, it is necessary to know to analyze almost sociologically these advances and modifications of the last municipal elections, to examine in which direction they go.


We must identify the problem. What is the problem of municipal elections, of the function of mayor, of the latest developments?

The documents are mainly there to help you identify this problem, by offering several angles of view. In fact, the debate that revolves around elections, particularly municipal elections, is often this contradiction between the choice of individuals, of each man who wants to decide for himself, and this needs to establish representatives, who do not necessarily convey the private interests of each citizen.

Many problems, especially for a subject like this year, were possible. Here is a question that pinpoints the problem:

How do municipal elections, especially after the developments in the last municipal elections on March 23 and 30, 2014, mark the desire for a direct engagement of citizens against the necessities of an indirect representation of power?

The last two documents thus remind us that municipal elections have a real impact, and therefore citizens have real decision-making power. The second document relates this desire of citizens not only to vote, but especially to engage in politics. The first document examines sociologically, and as such has the advantage of presenting a real reflection, the motivations or interests that lie behind the attachment to citizen political participation at the local level. Finally, the third document should enable you to understand the direction in which institutions and election procedures are moving, particularly with the new system of “panachage” (voting in favor of other candidates not present on the list), which is now prohibited in medium-sized cities, and the election of community representatives by universal suffrage.


Roughly speaking, the reflection could be classically organized around three main moments.

You could either choose a 2-part outline (more Sciences Po, notes de synthèse, sociology, law: the emphasis is on the current events, documents) or a 3-part outline (classical outline history, philosophy, analysis: the emphasis is on the reflection side).

Our preference is for the 3-part plan, which allows for all aspects to be addressed and for in-depth reflection, which solves the difficulties, but the rule is always to choose the outline that best responds to your question that pinpoints the problem and that best meets your expectations, to what you want to express.

I. The municipal elections and the novelties of the 2014 polls turned towards the identity link and direct democracy

II. The necessary role of the municipal representatives, of the mayor’s office, allows guaranteeing the democratic government

III. Citizen involvement as a democratic solution encouraged by the progress of the 2014 elections

The outlines again are largely variable, and you have a good deal of flexibility for this topical composition paper. The only important points are to address the reflection on municipal elections from all angles, including from each document – ideally you should cite each document and once each in the development of your paper.


To give you some ideas, you could talk about the social contract. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract in 1762 was a key reference for this assignment.

Robespierre’s definition of democracy would have made an excellent hook for the assignment: “Democracy is a state in which the sovereign people, guided by laws which are their work, do by themselves all that they can do, and by delegates all that they cannot do themselves” in On the Principles of Political Morality.

Indeed, this definition speaks at the same time of the sovereign people, but especially of the delegates, who are those who allow “all that it cannot do itself”. This definition thus contains in itself the role of the mayors, the importance of the citizens, and the relations which they maintain.

You could also use the historical debate between the nation/people, a nation defended by the abbé Siéyès in Qu’est-ce que le Tiers-Etat? And people by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The Fifth Republic offers a special solution to this opposition in its 1958 Constitution: article 3:National sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through their representatives and by means of a referendum.

The three notions of the nation, people, and representatives are present, to define sovereignty.

You could also include, in the 3rd part of the Constitution, the integration of European citizens among the recent novelties concerning municipal elections: (article 88-3 of the Constitution) “Subject to reciprocity and according to the modalities provided for by the Treaty on European Union signed on February 7, 1992, the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections may be granted only to citizens of the Union resident in France. ”

This development is indeed decisive in that it modifies or reinforces the interests of the municipal election. It is a question of consolidating this reference to the citizen of the European Union, in the service of this identity symbolism of which document 1 speaks.

General knowledge: Democracy

See also for Sciences Po Bordeaux:

→ Sciences Po Bordeaux : all the correction to 2014

→ Compilation Sciences Po Bordeaux BAC+0

→ Sciences Po Bordeaux : 2013 correction

See for Sciences Po Paris:

→ Sciences Po PARIS 2014 subjects