Pierre Maudet, the embattled member of the Geneva cantonal government, has won the support of his local party grassroots.
At an extraordinary meeting of the Geneva branch of the Radical-Liberal Party on Tuesday evening, a narrow majority came out in favour of the minister, handing a defeat to local party leadership which had called for his resignation from the government.
Maudet is under investigation for accepting undue financial benefits, notably a trip with his family to the United Arab Emirates to attend the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 race in 2015.
Parliament is due to give the green light later this month to extend the legal investigations.
Tuesday’s decision prompted the immediate resignation of the president of Geneva’s Radicals, as well as deepening the rift with the party at national level.
Maudet, who again apologised for lying initially about the controversial trip to Abu Dhabi, refuses to step down from his post in the seven-member cantonal executive and as head of the security department.
Once a candidate for the Swiss government, he has already vacated his cantonal president’s role, also as a temporary measure. He is also no longer in charge of the police and the airport in the canton.
swissinfo with SDA-ATS/ug