55% of mayors do not wish to run again in 2026, a record

This Wednesday continues in Paris on Congress of the Association of Mayors of France, as well as the French Mayors’ Fair, which brings together companies working in the public sphere. Emmanuel Macron will also be present at this second event, in a context of fed up with mayors. According to an Ifop poll published on Wednesday, more than one in two mayors (55%) do not wish to run again at the end of their mandate in 2026, a record in twenty years.

The oldest mayors and rural municipalities mainly concerned

In detail, the oldest mayors are the quickest to throw in the towel (72% of those over 70), as are rural mayors (56%) and those for whom at least 10% of the operating budget is devoted to energy (62%). 90% of the elected officials questioned say they are worried about the rise in energy prices for the budget of their municipality, underlines this survey carried out among 609 mayors for the company Hellio, specialized in energy management, and the magazine Public actors.

“In this context where a record number of mayors are considering throwing in the towel, this survey is the first to show that this price explosion pushes some not to pay their bill, or even to merge with a neighboring municipality”, underlines Ifop in a press release. Thus, 16% of the mayors questioned plan to merge with a neighboring municipality to cope with the rise in prices, “sign of fears about the sustainability of the hexagonal municipal fabric”, and 12% think they will not pay their supplier the additional cost generated by energy inflation.

More than half of the mayors (55%) also plan to pool their energy supplies with other local authorities to reduce costs. Finally, out of the 609 respondents, 63% of mayors say they are dissatisfied with the government’s action to help municipalities cope with rising energy prices. Regarding the responses to these issues, 85% of mayors intend to heat their premises and equipment less, 82% to cut the lighting at night, 24% to increase local taxes and 74% to start work energy renovation. Only 9% want to close public services.

“We are caught in a spiral”

And some mayors did not wait for the next elections to throw in the towel. 960 mayors have resigned in the past two years. This is particularly the case in Trégourez, in Finistère, where the former mayor could no longer manage her function and her family life.

“I would have loved to be able to go through with the four years I had left.” Géraldine Hary admits it bluntly: it is with regret that she returned her mayor’s scarf after having nevertheless carried out beautiful projects. “I will see the result, that’s for sure. But I won’t be there to cut the ribbon,” she adds.

On September 23, she sent her resignation to the prefect. In a municipality of 1,000 inhabitants, the first elected must manage everything with a very small team. “There are no public holidays, there are no weekends. For neighborhood disputes, I saw the gendarmes call me on a Saturday evening at 6 p.m. Sometimes the phone rings in the middle of the night because there was an accident. The ponies at 7 a.m. on Sunday, who are wandering on the road, let’s go,” explains the former elected official. “In fact, we are caught in a spiral which means that every day, we are there. We had to make a choice. Because we tell ourselves that if we continue like this, we can also lose our family.”

At 45 and after two and a half years in office, this mother of three children therefore left the town hall to resume her activity as a youth illustrator. “It’s a little bit like letting people down, but in fact, they say that being mayor is a commitment and for me, it’s not a sacrifice.”

55% of mayors do not wish to run again in 2026, a record