Who wants to be the mayor of Agen? Is it still Jean Dionis?

l’essentielThe mayor of Agen has presented his midterm report. Everything is set for the 2023-2026 period, but beyond that, there is complete uncertainty. Who will replace Jean Dionis, who has promised not to run for re-election in 2026: Dionis Jean?

For its opponents, it is seen as a self-serving plea, a large operation of self-satisfaction; but for the mayor of Agen, Jean Dionis, it is a faithful meeting with the people of Agen, during which he reports on the results of the municipal team. Thus, at the beginning of September, like every year, the mayor of Agen wanted to present the outcome of his commitments made during the 2020 election campaign. However, in 2023, this exercise takes on a unique character: the elected officials are « mid-term », so they are transitioning towards… the beginning of the end.

Brandissant le fascicule titré « Ensemble faisons le point », et distribué à 18 000 exemplaires dans les boîtes aux lettres, Jean Dionis a rappelé qu’il (avec ses colistiers) avait pris quelque 120 engagements en 2020, dans les domaines de l’environnement, de la fiscalité, des aménagements divers et variés, dans l’éducation, la culture, etc.

Objectif : 90 %

« We have had a very good first half, he said, with already a third of our commitments being executed. Let’s take for example the new Jasmin square, the modernization of the Armandie sports field, paying tribute to Michel Serres through philosophical meetings, the new Gravier parking lot, etc. 38% of the commitments have been fulfilled, and 49% are currently being executed. By the end of the term, we will have fulfilled 90% of the commitments, as a small portion of them will have been abandoned. I am thinking specifically of the bike path leading from the city center to the Passeligne-Pélissier park, which no longer makes sense if we reclaim the riverside lane [Editor’s note: the Agen Agglomeration giving the Camélat bridge in exchange for this part of RN21]. » Another project that has been crossed off the list is commitment number 100: the creation of an economic hub with an aeronautical focus around La Garenne runway. »

For the first time, Jean Dionis was accompanied during this political assessment by his main deputies, namely Clémence Brandolin-Robert (in charge of ecological transition and municipal heritage), Mohamed Fellah (finance), Baya Kherkhach (living together and social cohesion, CCAS, urban policy, elderly people), and Thomas Zamboni (citizen participation challenge, neighborhood life, cleanliness).

Clémence Brandolin-Robert.
Clémence Brandolin-Robert. photo Christan Prêleur

All four of them specified their actions, and their presence was not a coincidence: Clémence Brandolin-Robert has a strong influence on Agen’s environmental ambitions, Mohamed Fellah is the guardian of the treasure and the doctrine of « no tax increase. » Baya Kherkhach, valuable during disturbances in the neighborhoods, is heavily involved in the fight against senior isolation, and Thomas Zamboni has just taken over the delicate issue of cleanliness in the city.

« On verra en 2025 »

Asked about the presence of the « Dionis Académie » by his side [Editor’s note: four young elected officials highlighted during the campaign, representing the future of Agen], the mayor emphasized, with a smirk, that « a team is not formed by chance. »

Baya Kherkhach.
Baya Kherkhach. photo Christan Prêleur

Certains [NDLR : Clémence Brandolin-Robert, Mohamed Fellah et Baya Kherkhach] ont une expérience de trois mandats. Ils sont en situation de prendre des responsabilités. Ils ou elles décideront de continuer ou non. Quant à l’avenir de l’équipe, ne nous trompons pas de calendrier, on verra en 2025. »

Mohamed Fellah.
Mohamed Fellah. photo Christan Prêleur

What about this other campaign commitment made in 2020, stating that Jean Dionis, if reelected, would serve a third and final term? It appears that this promise has been ignored halfway through… Has he changed his mind? And what if Dionis Jean wanted to succeed Jean Dionis?

Thomas Zamboni.
Thomas Zamboni. photo Christan Prêleur

The question is asked, 2026 is approaching little by little, and today no candidate is emerging within the majority municipal party. The four deputies remain in the shadow of their mentor, and on the ambition radar, the signals are weak, if not nonexistent. The majority does not have a successor, which greatly benefits the opposition, and one can imagine that Agen shifting to the left in 2026 is a nightmare for the outgoing mayor.

Qui ?

In the absence of a champion, why not « donate oneself » a fourth time? In his recent speech, Jean Dionis also emphasized that « the City of Agen is the driving force behind the Agglo d’Agen ». The Agglo, the primary local authority in the department, naturally led by the mayor of the central city. Who will replace Jean Dionis as mayor-president? Who will fight with the Region or the Department? Who will oversee certain demanding issues, such as the recovery of the riverside road and the return of the river to the lives of the people of Agen?

Jean Dionis is currently asking himself these questions. « And the age of the captain? » the mockers will add… Jean Dionis will be 67 years old on September 21, 2023, will be 69 at the next municipal elections, and 75 at the end of any potential fourth term. Age is no longer an obstacle, as there are many examples in our country and elsewhere. But not everyone can be like Joe Biden…

So there are three possibilities: Jean Dionis « does it again »; or he endorses a member of his majority; or, the providential man or woman emerges, currently outside of politics but with a deep attachment to the city that could seduce Jean Dionis. Difficult to find, and only one profile stands out, that of David Djaïz…