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Grenoble Municipal Council Chaos: Adjourned Due to Lack of Quorum – Details & Repercussions

In the middle of the night from Monday to Tuesday, the municipal council was unable to reach its conclusion with the departure of elected officials from the majority and then from all the opposition groups. Due to lack of quorum, it was adjourned and will therefore have to continue, presumably on Monday.

Jean-Benoît Vigny (with AP)

Today at 7:22 p.m.

Officially, the Grenoble municipal council was supposed to end at 12:15 a.m. In reality, this terminal perspective is rarely respected. But this time, the deliberative session was interrupted certainly still in the night but due to lack of quorum, which in Grenoble is 30 elected officials. However, shortly after midnight, there were only 28 left. “I am adjourning the council and we will reconvene a new one which will not need a quorum” noted Éric Piolle. There remained around thirty deliberations to examine (out of 84 on the agenda). “All the elected officials who were not there had good reasons, like those who left before the end,” justified the mayor this Tuesday.

How did we get here ?

A municipal council has an agenda, the first deliberations of which are generally the most important and, in fact, the most discussed. Monday evening, the first six were spread over… eight hours!

However, it is a related fact which generated this postponement. Present in the public since the start of the session, a trader excluded from the Christmas market asked to speak to demand explanations. Supported by opposition groups, he was not authorized by the mayor: “At the start of the council, we offered him a meeting (later), he refused. I can understand his frustration but there is no way this council will submit to an unexpected interruption by anyone.”

The opposition then left the enclosure in turn. “The oppositions are not there to ensure the quorum,” argued Delphine Bense. We all have a job, finishing at 3 a.m. is not possible.”

Why is it so long…

First there is the law, which Éric Piolle recalled: “The general code of local authorities means that elected officials can speak as much as they want”.

For some, it is the opportunity for a platform which they use and sometimes (often) abuse. But the breakup of Éric Piolle’s majority also contributes to this growth because, the more groups there are within a council, the more speeches are made one after the other.

However, since 2020, the departure of Lionel Picollet on the one hand and seven elected officials on the other have fragmented the majority and led to a multiplicity of expressions. The oppositions have also experienced their share of slamming doors (departure of Anne Roche from Alain Carignon’s group, split in Émilie Chalas’s group), producing the same effects on speeches.

That said, united or not, elected officials tend to take a long time, so we remember this December 2014 council which ended at 4:51 a.m…. Hours when no one is following the broadcasts on the City YouTube channel which, already, generally attract a starving number of Internet users (759 views this Monday).

Should we review the schedules?

This is the request of all the opposition groups, and it does not date from this Monday: start the councils earlier (10 a.m. or 1 p.m.) and/or return to a monthly rhythm.

In a press release this Tuesday, Émilie Chalas’ group slipped ironically: “The elected representatives of the majority also seem to find that it is not reasonable to end the municipal councils so late because by 11 p.m. they were not only 28 out of 37 left to be present.”

“Taking an extra half day on Monday morning is also complicated in professional lives. And then this involves reviewing the organization of all the meetings of other organizations where elected officials are present. It’s a cascade…, noted Éric Piolle. We are there.”

Return to city hall in 2024!

In September 2019, a violent fire affected Grenoble town hall, and in particular the municipal council room. An act since claimed by the anarchist movement.

After long months of cleaning and a negotiation with the insurer to reduce the deductible (€750,000), elected officials validated, in November 2020, a budget of one million euros for the work. A project which should soon end since the return of the municipal council, which has been held for several months at the Camille-Claudel municipal center, in the premises of the town hall is announced for May 2024.

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