Several thousand people have signed an online petition in Switzerland calling for the resignation of Geneva minister Pierre Maudet, who is embroiled in a controversy over his 2015 trip to Abu Dhabi and an investigation for “possible acceptance of a benefit”.
An online petitionexternal link, signed by 4,700 people at the time of writing on Tuesday morning, was launched on Saturday urging Maudet to resign immediately.
"We believe that Pierre Maudet can no longer remain a member of the State Council, regardless of the future outcome of the legal proceedings, because we no longer trust him,” Didier Tischler Taillard, the initiator of the petition, wrote, accusing the cantonal minister of “lies”.
Maudet, the former Geneva president and Federal Council candidate, is currently under investigation by the Geneva Attorney General’s Office over a trip he and his family took to Abu Dhabi in November 2015 to attend a Formula 1 Grand Prix. The trip was allegedly funded by that country’s crown prince 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 from his controversial trip to Abu Dhabi, 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. However, he remains a Geneva cantonal minister.
Maudet’s centre-right Radical party has been rocked by the controversy. While the Geneva branch met last week and appeared to try to calm tensions within the local group, Maudet has been asked to attend a meeting of the Radicals’ General Secretariat in Bern on Wednesday. "We want to hear the facts from him and let him have his say," said spokesperson Karin Barras. However, on Tuesday RTS confirmed an earlier Tribune de Genève report that Maudet would not travel to Bern.
Party president Petra Gössi remains highly critical. "If I were Pierre Maudet, I would have already resigned," she told RTS. As Maudet told RTS on Tuesday evening, "Quitting would be the easy way out."