Who will be the new leaders of Lyon?

Published: 2017/07/06
Gérard Collomb has now become Home Office Minister under Macron’s new presidency. Socialist mayor of the city since 2001, he is set to leave his office. But who is going to fill his shoes in this national and local political reshuffle?


By Frederic Crouzet, translated by Katie Lodge


First supporter of Emmanuel Macron, Gérard Collomb, Lyon’s Socialist mayor, has now become Home Office Minister under Macron’s new presidency.

Mayor of the city and the metropole since 2001, local MP for 40 years, Collomb is set to leave his office.

Gérard Collomb, socialist mayor of Lyon since 2001

Gérard Collomb. Bruno Amsellem / Divergence

In order to respect the new president’s desire to limit the number of mandates that can be held at one time, Collomb also have to leave his post as senator and president of the metropole by mid-July.

So who is going to fill his shoes in this political reshuffle?

A surgeon-mayor of Lyon

At Lyon’s City Hall, things are straightforward. During the 2014 elections, Gérard Collomb obtained a large majority at the council with 48 elected representatives out of 73 seats.

He is going to give the keys to the city to deputy mayor, Georges Képénékian, surgeon and man of confidence, in charge of the City’s Culture.

A pillar of the Saint Luc-Saint Joseph hospital to which he dedicated his whole career, this 66 year old urologist entered politics in 2008 after having become active in pushing for recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Georges Képénékian

Georges Képénékian, next mayor of Lyon? Bruno Amsellem / Divergence

Voting could take place on 17 July.

The City Council will also have to appoint a new cultural councillor. Collomb will equally have to find a replacement for Anne Brugnera, Schools councillor, elected MP for Macron in June.

At the council in Lyon, new district mayors will need to be elected too. In the 5th district (Vieux Lyon, St Just), the mayor Thomas Rudigoz is joining Macron’s team and will be leaving office.

The same for Hubert Julien-Lafferière, mayor of the 9th district (Vaise-Duchère).

An entrepreneur in the Metropole

The mayor of the 4th district (Croix Rousse) may also change. The current mayor, David Kimelfeld, could become the next president of the Lyon Metropole, replacing Gérard Collomb who stepped down on 28th June.

This is the most significant political position in Lyon as the metropole has 59 communes (1.35 million inhabitants), dealing with the major areas such as transport, housing, energy, tourism, water, sanitation, the elderly…

David Kimelfeld, Gérard Collomb and Hubert Julien-Laferrière in Lyon. By Tim Douet

At 56, David Kimelfeld started his career as a nurse before creating a maritime transport company. Active member of the Socialist Party since 1983, local councillor since 2001 and vice-president of the metropole since 2014, Kimelfeld has been nominated Gerard Collomb’s heir apparent.

Despite being at the head of the Socialist Party Federation of the Rhône, he campaigned for Emmanuel Macron in 2017.

“I’ve resigned from the Socialist party and from my position as first secretary of the Socialist Party Federation,” he told This is Lyon on 26th June.


New négociations

But at the Metropole of Lyon, where 165 councillors work, the situation is less straightforward than in the City. In 2014, Gerard Collomb (32 seats) was elected head without a left majority, thanks to the help of small communes (30 seats) who grouped together against the right (40 seats).

So will the election of Emmanuel Macron, joined by councillors from both left and right, change this political landscape?

New negotiations has been be held between Gérard Collomb and councillors from different communes, and the 2014 agreement is likely to be respected.

Unless there is a last minute surprise, David Kimelfeld should  become the new president of the Metropole and the new leader of Lyon. Voting will take place on 10 July.


Update Monday July 10

The mayor of the 4th district (Croix Rousse) of Lyon David Kimelfeld has been elected president of the Lyon Metropole on Monday morning, replacing Gérard Collomb who stepped down on 28th June. David Kimelfeld has been elected president with a large majority (92 votes ont 165) on the first round.