State Councilor Pierre Maudet announced his resignation from the Geneva government on Thursday. He will also be a candidate for his own succession. The loss of his department was too much humiliation in his eyes.
“I disturb and I am put aside,” the independent state councilor told reporters. “I swallowed snakes, at the end they were even boa constrictors”, added the magistrate. On Wednesday, his government colleagues “brutally stripped him of his prerogatives.”
Pierre Maudet will resign next week. A complementary election could be held at the beginning of March, he believes. Until then, he will remain in post and attend meetings of the Council of State.
“The Council of State takes note of this announcement which will have the merit of clarifying things”, declared the president of the executive Anne Emery-Torracinta. “We are waiting for the effective date of his resignation,” she added.
In the eyes of Pierre Maudet, the exclusion of which he was the object on the part of the government is akin to a betrayal of the popular vote. “I am elected and an executive cannot strip one of its members of its attributions, only the people can do it”. This is the reason why he decided to run for his own succession.
Pierre Maudet denounced the treatment he received from his colleagues, the way he was excluded from business. For him, “these moments of quarantine”, the fact of having been placed in “political confinement”, are however experiences that he can put at the service of the population.
The interim report unveiled Wednesday, which dealt with the management of human resources in his former economic development department, and which prompted his colleagues on the executive to withdraw his files, was, according to Maudet, a stunt, ” the pretext for political execution “.
The Councilor of State deplored the fact that his right to be heard in this case was violated. He conceded having placed his employees under pressure, in particular because of the health crisis which is undermining the economy. “This intensity of work, I wanted it, I asked for agility”.
Senior officials were taken out of “their comfort zone”, they had to make replacements. The Covid-19 pandemic has led companies into great difficulty. Requests for rent exemptions poured in, desperate bosses called the department, noted Pierre Maudet.
“Now I feel free,” said the state councilor who was asked about his current state of mind. “The sense of institutions which has always guided me, has also constrained me”. The magistrate confessed to having “had to split the breastplate”.
The resigning Councilor of State believes that in the end the Council of State may have given him a gift by “stripping” him of his department. He now intends to defend his economic project for Geneva by going out to meet the population and fight for “those who suffer” from this crisis.
“End of a melodrama”
The Maudet affair, which should experience a judicial end with a public trial in the coming months, has poisoned Geneva political life for nearly two years. The resignation of the magistrate was desired by a very large majority of the Geneva political class.
Most members of the Grand Council consider that he should have left earlier. “He should have done that two years ago,” said PLR Serge Hiltpold, before the start of the parliamentary session.
“It’s almost a coup de theater. This decision is welcome, it will allow the people to express themselves after months of procrastination,” analyzes the PDC Sébastien Desfayes. “It’s the end of a melodrama. The deputies were well aware of the tensions within the executive,” explains the SVP Cristo Ivanov.
“Finally! It is the only decision which was essential”, comments the socialist Sylvain Thévoz. “There have been too many lies and too much business,” recalls Green Marjorie de Chastonay.
Candidates in sight
All eyes are already on the by-election. The PLR, the former magistrate’s party, intends to present a candidate, while the PDC believes that the seat does not belong to his party. But everything remains open. On the left, the PS sees it as an opportunity to overthrow the majority in the Council of State.