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Ouest France - France | Wednesday, April 1, 2015

French ignore powers of departments

Many voters wanted to teach the Socialist government in Paris a lesson in the departmental elections, the regional daily Ouest-France writes, voicing criticism that important local issues and projects were neglected in the process: "Most French really have no idea what the departments have been responsible for since the introduction of the decentralisation laws of 1982 (welfare, child and disabled benefits, funding and maintenance of secondary schools and much of the road network). So it's hard for them to judge the outgoing members of the departmental councils on the basis of their accomplishments. These, however, are crucial for the future of the departments, which will be subject to drastic - and unprecedented - cuts in the next legislature period. … Whatever their political orientation, the elected representatives will no doubt have to agree on austerity budgets."

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