[En continu] “The Maudet affair was a political problem, not a judicial one”

The Geneva Criminal Appeals and Revision Chamber finally acquitted Pierre Maudet for his trip to Abu Dhabi. First reactions.

Also read: Pierre Maudet is acquitted on the whole line on appeal

■ Alberto Velasco, Socialist deputy: “The Public Ministry should never have entered into this”

“This case shows that it is lamentable to politicize justice,” says Alberto Velasco, Socialist deputy. The prosecution should never have entered into this. The separation of powers is essential, otherwise the politicians can do nothing more ”.

“This judgment does not exonerate Pierre Maudet of his political fault, moreover he recognized the lies”, he continues. “But his faults did not deserve all the destabilization that followed. He has also paid the price at the ballot box. If Pierre Maudet presents himself in 2023, he will take votes everywhere, for all kinds of reasons, because the base no longer blindly follows parties, voters choose the menu, like at a restaurant. If it reaches the Grand Council with a party behind it, the PLR ​​will be weakened, especially since it will already lose its feathers because of the Liberal Greens. Pierre Maudet would then have a chance at the Council of State. ”

■ “Geneva found itself in a situation of total political blockage”, recalls Céline Amaudruz, UDC

Céline Amaudruz, president of the Geneva UDC, takes note of the decision and recalls the principle of the separation of powers. “The population is the only one to judge whether a return of Pierre Maudet in politics is possible or not”, she believes, stressing however that the affair will inevitably leave traces.

“In recent years, Geneva has found itself in a situation of total political blockage,” she recalls. Between the criminal investigations and the conflicts within the Council of State, it had become very difficult for the elected officials who must defend Geneva in Bern to be perceived as credible. ” In his eyes, the canton therefore did not emerge unscathed from this ordeal and can no longer afford to take the risk of a new institutional crisis, in the still very hypothetical case where Pierre Maudet made his return to the Executive.

■ “This case may not have reached its legal end,” comments Jean Batou (EàG)

“We can be surprised or criticize this judgment, but we are in a state of law. This case may not have reached its legal end, ”reacts Jean Batou, deputy of Ensemble à Gauche. “Only political judgment matters. Pierre Maudet admitted serious political faults and that is what should guide the thinking of Genevans. ”

He continues: “I also confess my weariness regarding the personalization of this file, which is almost counterproductive to tackle the structural problems it poses, namely the need to regulate the financing of the policy. “

■ François Baertschi, MCG MP: “This was a political issue, not a judicial one”

“This acquittal shows that it was a political problem, not a judicial one. A problem exacerbated by the PLR ​​which mismanaged the crisis, by initially supporting Pierre Maudet excessively, then rejecting him just as excessively, believes François Baertschi, MCG deputy. The PLR ​​was in a passionate relationship, and not a political one, which led to the institutional crisis from which the entire political spectrum suffered the consequences. The problem of the PLR ​​has therefore become the problem of the whole canton, to the point that the Council of State has had difficulty in carrying out its task ”.

“It is difficult to say if a candidacy of Pierre Maudet in 2023 can overshadow the MCG, adds François Baertschi. Admittedly, it must be recognized that some MCG voters gave him their voice last spring, but others were found to vote Fabienne Fischer, as an anti-Maudet vote. Pierre Maudet, with his false socialist nose, nevertheless remains very far from the positions of the MCG. I am therefore not afraid for my party in front of his possible return to politics. “

■ “The people of Geneva are free to see if they want to elect a liar and a manipulator”

For Thomas Wenger, deputy of the Socialist Party, “politically, this decision of the Chamber of Appeal does not change anything. “The political fault was admitted by the person concerned, his many lies too, as well as his manipulations and encouragement towards his colleagues to lie,” he underlines. If he represents himself in 2023, Genevans and Genevans are free to see if they want to elect a liar and a manipulator to the Council of State. I believe that Geneva deserves better. It is true, however, that a candidacy of Pierre Maudet can only divide the right and benefit the left. But I am not cynical and therefore do not wish the policy of the worst. “

■ “Voters have already made up their minds”, estimates Delphine Bachmann, the Center (ex-PDC)

“A first judgment went in one direction, a second contradicts it, but in the end the voters have already made up their minds.” At least, that’s the opinion of Center MP Delphine Bachmann. Beyond the acquittal, the question is in his eyes whether Pierre Maudet crossed a red line as a magistrate. “This verdict does not cancel his behavior on the political level, his lies, the problematic management of his department,” she said, recalling that the confidence of voters is hard to recover.

“Whatever the final legal outcome, this case has harmed the Republic and gave a mediocre image of the Geneva institutions”, deplores Delphine Bachmann. Is a return to politics possible? “Pierre Maudet is free in his actions but personally I would not place my trust in him.” The deputy especially hopes that the next elections which will take place in 2023 will not be centered on the former Councilor of State. “Geneva now needs to move forward and focus on political projects.”

■ Bertrand Reich, president of the Geneva PLR: “His exclusion was fully justified”

“Politically, the court decision will strengthen the people who voted for him in their feeling that he has been wrongly prosecuted,” declares Bertrand Reich, president of the Geneva PLR. But for me, that doesn’t change the fact that his exclusion was fully justified, given the accumulation of reasons. Because the problem is not criminal, but ethics and loyalty to his party, which he sorely lacked, with repeated lies and stratagems aimed at distracting attention, in particular by throwing away as food for the press of facts detrimental to the PLR. Now, it is clear that being acquitted is good for his image and that he would not have created a foundation if he no longer wanted to play a political role. It is too early to say whether this risk will be likely to fracture the PLR ​​again. “

■ The acquittal of Pierre Maudet does not weaken the legitimacy of Fabienne Fischer, defends Delphine Klopfenstein-Broggini, the Greens

For Delphine Klopfenstein-Broggini, president of the Geneva Greens, this judgment does not change much. “We take note of this decision, which is probably only a judicial step, but on the political level the ethical question which has always preoccupied us remains relevant: Pierre Maudet has lied to the population on numerous occasions.”

To the point, according to her, of losing the confidence of some of the voters. As for the political strength of Pierre Maudet, Delphine Klopfenstein-Broggini recalls that the former State Councilor “did not hesitate to campaign while being under criminal investigation”. In his eyes, the acquittal should therefore not fundamentally change his behavior but risks, on the other hand, worrying the PLR. In retrospect, could this judgment have changed the situation at the time of the complementary election to the Council of State in spring 2021? “Absolutely not,” replies the president. Our candidate Fabienne Fischer won hands down, she was legitimate yesterday, she still is today. ”

■ “It doesn’t change anything, he lied to Parliament”, reacts Bertrand Buchs, the Center (ex-PDC)

Bertrand Buchs, deputy of the Center (the Geneva PDC changed its name on January 1) reacts to the acquittal of Pierre Maudet: “For me, that does not change anything, he lied to Parliament, he recognized him and even said at the end of his trial. The fault of Pierre Maudet does not change, even if it is not condemnable at the criminal level. Confidence is not restored. But it is true that currently, he has a highway in front of him if he wants to represent himself. If he comes with a party, it’s gonna be a mess. But he even has the potential, given his personality, to come back without a party. It is a risk for the PDC, just like the Vert’liberals, which I am convinced will reach a quorum. The problem is not whether the PDC will have good candidates in 2023, but to achieve quorum. Because there will inevitably be a fragmentation of voices on the right. “

■ Thomas Bläsi, UDC: “a royal road to Pierre Maudet’s return to politics”

The UDC deputy Thomas Bläsi considers that the judgment “is a huge disavowal for the Attorney General, who traces a royal road for a return to politics of Pierre Maudet”. “I am shocked that justice considers that a State Councilor can accept a gift of 50,000 francs without falling within the scope of the law. It will be necessary that enough people disregard their personal interest to block it during the cantonal elections of 2023 ”, he continues.

“As the author of the report of the management committee on the Cantonal Office for Population and Migration, I was able to observe that Pierre Maudet personally intervened to accelerate the naturalization of at least one person close to the one of the organizers of the trip to Abu Dhabi. This case was the subject of a criminal denunciation. ”

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