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Cantons of France


This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France

(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Cantons

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

The cantons of France are territorial subdivisions of the French Republic's 342 arrondissements and 101 departments.

Apart from their role as organizational units in certain aspects of the administration of public services and justice, the chief purpose of the cantons today is to serve as constituencies for the election of the members of the representative assembly (General Council) in each department. For this reason, such elections are known in France as "cantonal elections".

There are currently 2,054 cantons in France.[1] Most of them group together a number of communes (the lowest administrative division of the French Republic), although larger communes may comprise a number of cantons, since the cantons are intended to be roughly equal in size of population – unlike the communes which range in size from more than two million inhabitants (Paris) to just one person (Rochefourchat).

Contents

  • Role and administration 1
  • History 2
  • Statistics 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Role and administration

The role of the canton is, essentially, to provide a framework for departmental elections. Each canton elects a person to represent it at the conseil général du département – or general council for the department, which is the principal administrative division of the French Republic.

In urban areas, a single commune generally includes several cantons. Conversely, in rural areas, a canton may comprise several smaller communes. In the latter case, administrative services, the gendarmerie headquarters for example, are often situated in the principal town (chef-lieu) of the canton, although there are exceptions, such as cantons Gaillon-Campagne and Sarreguemines-Campagne, which have in common a "chief-town" which does not belong to either canton.

For statistical (INSEE) purposes, the twenty arrondissements of Paris – the administrative subdivisions of that city – are sometimes considered cantons, but they serve no greater electoral function.

Cantons also form legal districts, as seats of Tribunaux d'instance or "Courts of First Instance" (also, "TI"...). Historically, the cantons are called justices de paix or "district courts".

History

The cantons were created in 1790 at the same time as the Consulate into arrondissements. The number of cantons was then drastically reduced (between 30 and 50 units) by the Loi du 8 pluviôse an IX (28 January 1801), or the "Law for the Reduction of the Number of District Courts", or Loi portant réduction du nombre de justices de paix in French. The département prefects were told by the government to group the communes within newly established cantons. The département lists, once approved by the government, were published in the Bulletin des lois in 1801 and 1802; these lists are still the basis of the administrative divisions of France in place today, although cantons with small populations have been eliminated and new cantons created in areas of strong demographic growth. On the whole, their number has increased appreciably.

In May 2013 a law was adopted that reduced the number of cantons drastically.[2] This law came into effect at the French departmental elections in March 2015. Before the cantonal reform, there were 4,032 cantons.[3] The 2013 reform law also changed the representation of the cantons in the departmental councils: each canton is now represented by a man and a woman.[2]

Statistics

The number of cantons varies from one département to another; the Territoire de Belfort, for example, has 9, while Nord has 41.

See also

References

  1. ^ INSEE, Populations légales 2012 des cantons - découpage 2015
  2. ^ a b LOI n° 2013-403 du 17 mai 2013 relative à l'élection des conseillers départementaux, des conseillers municipaux et des conseillers communautaires, et modifiant le calendrier électoral
  3. ^ INSEE (French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) Code Officiel Géographique
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