The number of attacks on elected officials is on the rise

The number of attacks on elected officials is on the rise

It’s a “civic shock” what the country needs. The warning from the Minister Delegate for Local Authorities, Dominique Faure, is up to the latest official data on attacks on elected officials: between 2021 and 2022, the number of incidents listed increased from 1,720 to 2,265, a jump of 32%.

These figures come from feedback made to the Ministry of the Interior by the prefectures. For its part, the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) observed an increase of 15% over the same period. But, warns the AMF, it is only a question of“indicator estimates” And “no scientific data”.

In both cases, however, these are “facts”, because elected officials do not always lodge complaints. Seven times out of ten, threats, insults or outrages are reported. Physical violence (160 in 2022) remains marginal and stable compared to 2021 (165). However, this concerns in more than half of the cases mayors and their deputies, very often when they seek to ensure public safety. Finally, the attacks “touch elected officials from all sidesindicates the entourage of Mme Faure. In most cases, the chosen one is not attacked for what he thinks or what he wears, but for what he is..

Also read the testimonials: Article reserved for our subscribers Mayors faced with rising threats and violence: “I was not elected for that”

Indeed, incivility towards elected officials is a symptom of the deterioration of the social and political climate in the country. ” The ministersays a relative, calls for a civic shock in our society where violence is increasing, from the National Assembly to the small village. »

Few attacks directed against people

Paradoxically, this highlights the fact that the elect have long been spared. With the exception of spectacular cases such as the attacks perpetrated against General de Gaulle or against Jacques Chirac, targeted in 2002 by the far right after being re-elected President of the Republic against Jean-Marie Le Pen.

But the elect were largely preserved. Professor of political science at Sciences Po-Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Xavier Crettiez has been studying this subject for a long time. For a collective work published in 2021, Political violence in France (Presses de Sciences Po), the researcher has compiled a database listing 9,190 acts of political violence. These are essentially attacks on property or obstructions, very few attacks directed against people.

But, notes Xavier Crettiez, “We stopped just before the “yellow vests”. However, this social movement was a moment of rebound of political violence “. Public speaking has been “fundamentally questioned, discussed, discredited”, continues the professor. Especially, he underlines, as this coincided with the development of a conspiratorial thought, “and it has not improved with the Covid”. But, he said, “Behind this, there is the questioning of political legitimacy and democratic principles”.

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