(Voici un article directement en anglais pour expliquer, plutôt aux lecteurs étrangers, comment le 4e arrodissement est dirigé et comment il est représenté au Conseil de Paris).
The facade of the District Hall of the 4th arrondissement
Just a question : do you know how the 4th arrondissement is governed ?
Since 1860, in Paris, there have been 20 "arrondissements", that is to say districts. Each arrondissement has its own council called "Conseil d'arrondissement" (disctrict council) whose elected members are called the "conseillers d'arrondissement" (district advisors). Their number is propotionate to the number of inhabitants. For instance, in the 4th arrondissement, there are 13 district advisors. Each "conseil d'arrondissement" elects a mayor (maire) and deputy mayors (maires adjoints). The mayor of the 4th arrondissement is Mrs Dominique Bertinotti who is socialist. This council sits in the "mairie d'arrondissement" (disctrict Hall) which is located on Baudoyer square.
The conseil d'arrondissement has in fact little power because main decisions, for instance taxes, are taken in the "Conseil de Paris" (Council of Paris) where there are 161 counsellors. Each arrondissement has a precise number of counsellors according to its population. As the 4th arrondissement is one of the least populated (nearly 30 000 inhabitants), it is represented by only three consellors (who have to be members of the District council). You can see them on the photo below :
The Council of Paris sitting inside the City Hall of Paris
The 161 counsellors of Paris, elected every 6 years (the last election took place in 2008), choose the mayor of Paris for the same period. The current mayor of Paris is Bertrand Delanoë (Socialist Party) who has been in office since 2001 (the mayors' previous term, from 2001 to 2008, lasted 7 years because it was prolonged by one year because of the presidential election which took place in 2007) .
The mayor of Paris has not got as much power as the mayors of other cities. Indeed, in certain matters, such as security, a representative of the Government, the "Préfet de Paris" is in charge of making decisions. That's why he sits just next to the mayor of Paris when this one presides over the council of Paris :
Bertrand Delanoë (the mayor of Paris) in grey looking to his right towards the "Préfet de Paris".
In fact, up to 1977, there was no mayor of Paris because often, Paris was much more revolutionary than the rest of France. The Government feared revolts in Paris. The last one took place in 1871 during the "Commune de Paris".
By the way, the city hall of Paris sits also in the 4th arrondissement (a few hundred meters from the District Hall). It's wrong to say that the City Hall of Paris is located in the 1st arrondissement even if it is very close to it).
The City Hall of Paris (which is located in the 4th arrondissement)