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benefits investigation Radical-Liberals step up the pressure on Maudet

radical liberal president petra gössi

Petra Gössi, president of the Radical-Liberal party, in Bern on Wednesday.

(© KEYSTONE / PETER SCHNEIDER)

Geneva politician Pierre Maudet received a further blow on Wednesday when the national executive committee of his Radical-Liberal party called for his resignation. Maudet refuses to step down.

On Tuesday it was a public petition of almost 5,000 signatures; on Wednesday, it was the national leadership of his party. The pressure on Pierre Maudet has been ratcheted a notch further.

Following questioning in Bern by the national executive committee of his centre-right Radical-Liberal party – a process that the Geneva politician had previously opted to eschew – the party’s leadership asked unanimously for Pierre Maudet to step down.

“I don’t understand his behaviour,” party head Petra Gössi told journalists in Bern, saying that Maudet had not done or said anything to restore confidence.

The decision comes a day after Gössi had publicly stated that the former Geneva president was holding on too long as a minister amidst the fallout from his disputed 2015 trip to Abu Dhabi that has also embroiled his party in controversy. “If I were Pierre Maudet, I would have already resigned,” Gössi told RTS.

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However, the national executive of the party can only recommend a resignation; it cannot oblige it. And this is something Maudet remains reluctant to do.

“In times of crisis, it’s important to keep a clear head,” he said on Wednesday. Resigning from his role as minister in the Geneva cantonal minister is “not foreseen at this point”, though he has previously admitted that, if found guilty by the investigation into the circumstances of his 2015 trip, he will then step down.

Maudet, the former Geneva president and candidate for the Swiss government, is currently under scrutiny by the Geneva Attorney General’s Office over the trip he and his family took to Abu Dhabi to attend a Formula 1 Grand Prix race in November 2015.

The trip was allegedly funded by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to the tune of several tens of thousands of Swiss francs. Maudet initially said the journey was private and paid for by a friend, but later acknowledged “having hidden part of the truth”. He denies any conflict of interests.

Amid the fallout, Maudet temporarily stepped down in September from his role as head of the cantonal government. He also gave up his hierarchical responsibility for oversight of the police and temporarily stepped down as head of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors.

Keystone-SDA/dos,sb

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