Midi Libre Debate: the three candidates for the municipal election of Pont-Saint-Esprit put on the grill

Midi Libre Debate: the three candidates for the municipal election of Pont-Saint-Esprit put on the grill

Gérome Bouvier, Emmanuel Le Pargneux, Claire Lapeyronie : les trois têtes de listes ont détaillé leur programme. Midi Libre – Michael Esdourrubailh

Monday April 22, more than 370 people attended the debate organized by Midi Libre in the Cazerne village hall in Pont-Saint-Esprit. The three candidates answered questions asked by editorial director Olivier Biscaye and those of the public.


Crucial subject in Pont-Saint-Esprit, where there is only one general practitioner left for a town of more than 10,500 inhabitants. The question is simple: "What do you plan to do for the residents ?" asked editorial director Olivier Biscaye of the candidates.

The candidate mayor of Pont-Saint-Esprit, Claire Lapeyronie, knows that this problem "which is not only Spiripontaine, is an anguish for the Spiripontains". The head of the Pont d’abord list, who is also a regional advisor, specified that she "has been working for two years with the Occitanie Region"< /em> as part of the Ma Région Ma santé system. "At the start of the school year we will welcome two doctors employed by the Region".

And to remind that the city which works with the CPTS (territorial professional health community) "already provides free premises for interns". Claire Lapeyronie also underlined that, already, "thanks to the dynamism of the hospital center, Spiripontains can consult eight specialists who come each month from Bagnols". In 2026, as part of the extension of the hospital center, "the city's leading employer, there will be five consultation rooms, with five general practitioners"  she announced.

Gérome Bouvier, head of the list of Demain Pont-Saint-Esprit, makes an observation: "In 2012 there were 11 doctors ; in 2024, there is a doctor. Two general practitioners who work 35 hours a week are not enough. We will do everything to ensure that nursing homes come and set up". And to return to aborted projects."There were two projects carried out by health professionals which were unsuccessful. All projects – public and private – are complementary".

"I am surprised that one of the candidates is satisfied with two doctors. In our Renouveau spiripontain list, we have six professionals from the medical-social sector. We are going to mobilize them fully" a, for his part, declared the National Rally candidate, head of the Spiripontain Renewal list. Emmanuel Le Pargneux proposes "the creation of a municipal health office to support the installation of doctors, and we will capitalize on the commitments made by the Region&quot ;.

For seniors, the RN candidate wants the creation of a house dedicated to them. Regarding the lack of doctors in Pont, he is surprised: "why did it take so long ? It's been ten years when we are alerted on the subject ?", "we do not decide alone, we work with partners" replies Claire Lapeyronie.

When Gérome Bouvier questions him about the renunciation of liberal doctors to create a health center, "discouraged& quot; due to the complexity of the file, Claire Lapeyronie explains that she had held meetings in 2020 with "two general practitioners who had presented their project to me of a private health home, but ultimately they did not submit a building permit.

Another theme linked to health, that of transport which Emmanuel Le Pargneux mentioned, "a problem for the elderly, the shuttle does not go everywhere". To which Claire Lapeyronie responds that "the transport of seniors is managed by the city" and, regarding urban shuttles , she "works with the agglomeration to improve the routes".

Economy and attractiveness

A truly major subject of daily life, commercial attractiveness is the other theme which dominated the debate between the three candidates but also the exchanges with the public. Outgoing mayor and candidate in the municipal election, Claire Lapeyronie praised "the assets" of the city highlighting in particular, "the work carried out to bring the heritage up to date".

She also mentioned "the’attractiveness generated by the nuclear sector". Claire Lapeyronie also mentioned "the traditional weekly Saturday morning market, a big center of attraction" and announced the creation of a local producers’ market. The councilor also cited "the arrival of the passenger train at Pont-Saint-Esprit". The outgoing mayor of Pont-Saint-Esprit judges the commerce of her city "dynamic".

The head of the list of Demain Pont-Saint-Esprit, Gérome Bouvier, says for his part that he is wary "of the effects of announcements". "Before attracting new businesses, we must already take care of the businesses that are already present in the area". He suggests "boosting commerce by repatriating as much as possible the city's entertainment on the Frédéric-Mistral and Jean-Jaurès avenues".

Gérome Bouvier offers a "true partnership" between the community and the traders’ association. For the Demain Pont-Saint-Esprit team " it would be a question of supporting the brands which organize events on the terraces of their establishments"< /em>. What about the third competitor ? For Emmanuel Le Pargneux the attractiveness of the municipal territory requires "revitalization"&amp ;nbsp;from the city center.

Always according to the candidate of the National Rally, encourage the installation of businesses in Pont-Saint-Esprit "also involves supporting local stakeholders and creating a trade office and defending localism". In other words, the promotion of everything that is done locally. The leader of the Spiripontain Renewal says he is in favor of a rescue plan and the enhancement of heritage. "The attractiveness also involves the inscription of several monuments such as fountains."

The RN candidate wants "a facade renovation policy" and also, "measures linked to the development of tourism". He says he wants to work with the Agglo du Gard rhodanien and the Provence Occitane tourist office. He denounces what he describes as "normative absurdities which make traders leave the town of Pont-Saint-Esprit". Emmanuel Le Pargneux echoes the comments of city traders who consider themselves penalized by the regulations.


The discussion on the theme of security mainly focused on the number of municipal police officers and video surveillance cameras. "Today, on the ground, there are eleven agents, including one who is leaving", started Gérome Bouvier who intends to hire six municipal agents and set up a night brigade between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m., for "a presence increased in the old center". Just like Emmanuel Le Pargneux. He promises to increase the workforce to 25 municipal police officers, with a 24/7 police presence.

The RN candidate wishes to double the number of video protection cameras, i.e. around fifty additional cameras at a cost of around 300,000 euros; "with control via the urban surveillance center (CSU) at any time on all streets in the city center, for rapid and effective interventions&amp ;quot;.

For Gérome Bouvier, who, in 2004, as a municipal official, participated in the creation of the urban surveillance center, it is first necessary to carry out a diagnosis: "Half the cameras don't work. We will start by carrying out a diagnosis and an audit on the locations that are relevant and those that are less relevant."To which Claire Lapeyronie replied that "the 53 cameras work very well. The center is exemplary thanks to the operators. He is one of the best performers in the department. We have invested a lot, and the ratio of the number of cameras per number of inhabitants is three times higher than a city of the same size. There are specific rules for viewing these images which are of high quality.

The outgoing mayor plans to increase the number of two additional cameras per year, with the priority of equipping the surroundings of educational establishments which are not yet all equipped. And the hiring of two AVSPs as well as the extension of the “Citizen Participation” in partnership with the gendarmerie.

At the same time, Claire Lapeyronie made it known that her competitors' projects were not "feasible", financially. "Six municipal police officers, that’s 300 000 € per year; 11 police officers, that’s 800,000 euros(*) per year, on the operating budget for which we have no subsidy. What will you sacrifice to fund these positions ?"

Gérome Bouvier quipped: "Like you, we will not renew retirements.&quot ; As for Emmanuel Le Pargneux, he only specified: "The safety of the Spiripontans comes first. So I propose to smooth out the budgets over several years." Among the other measures listed by Emmanuel Le Pargneux, "exclude delinquents and non-cooperative families from the municipal social park. Find measures against drug trafficking which is plaguing the city center".

Claire Lapeyronie drew a parallel with a city governed by an RN mayor. "Municipal police 24/7, that's a really bad idea. In Beaucaire, this is the case, the facts have not diminished, on the contrary." And to open the horizon on climate security, on health security with the incentive fee…

(*) The community's payroll budget is 8.4 million euros per year.


These are deep disagreements within the current majority – and the resulting resignations – who bring the Spiripontans to the polls next Sunday. The question of governance is therefore central in this campaign… and the two opponents of the outgoing mayor played on velvet on this subject.

Gérome Bouvier, first, promises to "bring together the Spiripontains. For fifteen years, the city has only known fractures and divisions. I was born here, I am at the head of a field list, with running mates who come from the city and come into contact with residents, traders, associations… hellip; We will be their spokesperson and we will report regularly on our actions", he promises.

His opponent from the RN goes in the same direction, assures that he, like the members of his team, will be "on the ground all the time" and that he will hold "a weekly meeting without appointment to hear all grievances". "I will be a full-time mayor", adds Emmanuel Le Pargneux, mocking the outgoing mayor over her other mandates.

Claire Lapeyronie immediately replied, asserting herself "proud" of her role as regional advisor "useful for the city. It was the Region that brought the train to Pont-Saint-Esprit two years ago", she said for the time being ;example, before returning to the governance that she promises "in line. The mistakes of the Baumet era are behind us, a milestone has been reached and we will continue our work. I am a hard worker, I am very demanding of myself and my team, I place loyalty and sincerity above everything and when I am prevented from defending the interests of my city, I fight back", she said, as if to defend herself for having withdrawn their delegations from several of her deputies last fall. "I have no regrets", said the outgoing councilor.

The debate then touched on political policy. To Claire Lapeyronie who said that she would not work with the extreme right, Emmanuel Le Pargneux responded that he is "very proud of (his) party which has shown, in the cities it leads, its budgetary seriousness and its effectiveness", then ironically about his adversaries who call themselves "apolitical".

Gérome Bouvier assumes the term: "There are people from the left, the center, the right on my list. We are here to work in the general interest, without pretension but to meet expectations." Including working with the Agglomeration &ndash ; "you need good relationships" -, when Emmanuel Le Pargneux, questioned like the others by the RN deputy on the subject – 3rd on his list –, assures that he will place "in the opposition"  until establishing "a balance of power", for example on the issue of waste management.
And all three work together ? None of the candidates, however, wanted to discuss a possible alliance between the two rounds. "Let's wait to see the result on Sunday evening", said Claire Lapeyronie.

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