PAMIERS, FRANCE (VINNews) —In a small French town in the Pyrenees foothills, residents evidently do not like change. For the past 25 years they have been voting for the same Jewish mayor, André Trigano, and this week the 94-year old Jewish mayor of Pamiers is aiming to get re-elected when voters go to the polls on June 28. 36,000 villages, towns and cities held the first round of mayoral elections in March, in which Trigano topped his rivals, and the second round will be held this weekend, after a three-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Trigano has held public office for 49 years- previously he served as mayor of a smaller town Mazeres, for 24 years. If he wins the election and completes another term, he will be 101, but his age doesn’t faze him. In a recent BBC interview, Trigano quipped that “I hope I am not going to have to apologize again for not being dead.”
Born in 1925, Trigano narrowly escaped death during the city’s Nazi occupation. His Algerian-born parents managed to flee to the mountainous region in the south of France after they were tipped off that they were on a Gestapo list for arrest but André joined the resistance and forged documents, enabling downed Allied airmen to escape to Spain. He was arrested three times but survived.
After the war he ran a successful tent-renting business which grew exponentially as people sought simple vacations in the south of France. The company won a contract to supply tents to Club Med and Trigano became the owner of numerous campsites around France as well as a collection of some 120 cars, including Citroens, Cadillacs, Triumphs, Rolls Royces, and an Excalibur.
Trigano believes that he still has what to offer the town if re-elected despite his age. Rivals have tried to use his age against him but Trigano responded in the BBC interview that “When you build a 10-storey building, you don’t change architects after the fifth floor.” He plans to renovate the centre of Pamiers, a poverty-stricken neighborhood surrounded by factories factories making parts for the aerospace industry.
“If anyone wants my job, they’ll have fight for it,” Trigano concludes.