In Montpellier, a strategic political return where everyone is advancing their positions.

After my term ended, the upcoming municipal elections of 2026 have never been so close… Clearly, this September comeback has witnessed the implementation of strategies. Either to gain visibility among the general public or to position oneself as the leader of the group. Let’s assess the current forces at play.

Michaël Delafosse, Patricia Mirallès, Alenka Doulain et EELV.
Michaël Delafosse, Patricia Mirallès, Alenka Doulain et EELV. Photos Midi Libre

1 Le maire dans les temps

Fidèle à un vieil adage politique que Georges Frêche maîtrisait parfaitement, on fait les choses qui fâchent en début de mandat, Michaël Delafosse est parti tambour battant. Et contrairement à ses derniers prédécesseurs, quand viendra l’heure des urnes et des comptes, le maire en place aura un vrai bilan à défendre. La ville est un chantier. La mise en œuvre de sa politique est clivante, à commencer par le plan de circulation, symbolisé par la fermeture du tunnel de la Comédie en juin 2022. Mais les fruits de ses semences vont commencer à apparaître. Les arbres sur la place de la Comédie mi-novembre, la police des transports et, surtout, ce qui a été le point d’orgue de sa conférence de presse de rentrée : la gratuité des trams et bus pour le 21 décembre. Dans son ton, Michaël Delafosse se veut plus apaisé avec une politique toujours autant assumée. On voit pourtant mal comment il pourrait mettre en place une autre de ses promesses de campagne forte : la tarification incitative des déchets (ou la poubelle au poids chez les particuliers), laissée de côté depuis trois ans. Se pose désormais la question du timing. Il sera en tout cas dans les clous pour défendre son siège.

2 L’opposante naturelle : Alenka Doulain (LFI)

She arrived at the city council with the NousSommes list and is the true (and almost only) opponent of Michaël Delafosse. She is the one who goes into battle. And she is preparing for the next one to the point of not running in the legislative elections, which could have been dangerous for her… but turned out to be victorious for her party. With three deputies (Nathalie Oziol, Sylvain Carrière, and Sébastien Rome), and to a lesser extent her allies on the city council (Clothilde Ollier and Flora Labourier), her candidacy is gaining strength. She should be taken seriously after the Mélenchonist surge in Montpellier during the presidential elections (40.73%). Unless one of the three deputies or her recent maternity leave reshuffles the deck, Alenka Doulain is the most capable of leading the LFI candidacy, which will be taken very seriously by the incumbent mayor. Rhany Slimane, who is more in the shadows, can also appear as an alternative.

3 EELV : déjà, mettre de l’ordre

They are also very active. Behind the scenes. If they hadn’t shot themselves in the foot with the confusion surrounding Clotilde Ollier-Manu Reynaud, the Greens would be leading the city today. Will they have learned their lesson? We’ll see. Internally, the situation is complex. Everyone is trying to position themselves as best they can. Jean-Louis Roumégas and Julia Mignacca are currently spokespersons for the local section. That’s already one too many. More seriously, EELV is officially part of Michaël Delafosse’s majority. There are twelve of them in the group, led by Manu Reynaud, but there is a clear division between this close associate of the mayor on one side, and Coralie Mantion and François Vasquez on the other. So now there are three or even four factions emerging, including a compatibility with LFI and Julia Mignacca… It’s going to be a challenging time for the Greens once again.

4 Patricia Mirallès se place

Patricia Mirallès was in the shadow of Philippe Saurel during the previous term. If he still dreams of a comeback, it will be very complicated. However, she has done more than emancipate herself. And she has grown tremendously. Madame la députée has become the Secretary of State for Veterans, the first Montpellier resident to be a member of the government in 40 years. She has an exceptional position as she is currently the only candidate to the right of the mayor. With the Macronist label. Strength or weakness? Nevertheless, she has just positioned herself as a municipal alternative with her proposal in the ongoing saga of the future stadium. She could also have the support of the second Montpellier resident appointed to the government, Jean-François Carenco, a discreet Minister of Overseas Territories who is unlikely to risk running for elections. On this part of the chessboard, Patrick Vignal appears to be more discreet this time.

5 Mais encore ?

The impact of municipal policy is so significant among merchants and professionals that disagreement can arise from ambitions. Several are already proclaiming their desire to get involved, with varying levels of seriousness. Very quickly, an association announces its intention to come forward. And let’s not forget Rémy Gaillard, who could still stir things up. It’s a boiling situation, we tell you.