Pierre Maudet wants to run again for the Geneva government council.
Pierre Maudet (44) wants to know again. The former Geneva State Counsellor, who was doomed by a trip to Abu Dhabi, will stand in the elections next spring with the list “Libertés et Justice sociale” (Freedom and Social Justice). His chances of being elected are considered intact. And this despite the criminal proceedings against him, which are still ongoing.
Maudet is accused of taking advantage in connection with the luxury trip to the emirate. He was acquitted in the second instance, but the public prosecutor’s office appealed the verdict to the federal court. But even a conviction would not change his political ambitions, Maudet said.
In an interview with Blick, the former FDP politician, who was the official Federal Council candidate for the Liberals in 2017, now talks about his political ambitions.
Blick: Why are you returning to politics? Do you need it that much?
Pierre Maudet: There’s really no “return” as I’ve never stopped being publicly involved. In the last two years I have met many Genevans. They told me about their problems and expectations. Today is about their needs, not mine.
And what do you think are their problems and expectations?
In short: people want the wealth of this city to benefit them. Today, inequality is increasing, to the detriment of a dwindling middle class. In a rich canton, this means that resources are not distributed fairly. We have rested too much on what we have already achieved. This development is therefore logical. Now we have to play our trump cards.
Pierre Maudet, the man of the hour?
Not at all. I’m not alone, I’m mostly surrounded by citizens I’ve gotten to know over the past two years. People with skills and the will to make a difference.
But you admit that in the past you’ve had the feeling that everything revolves around you?
What is certain is that power isolates. I sat in the city and canton government for 14 years. The fact that I left office abruptly under the known circumstances is changing. It forces you to deal with certain realities in a new way. And above all it forces me to great humility.
Which wasn’t exactly your forte.
That might not have been very much in my nature, I have to admit, yes.
Your time at Wisekey didn’t convince you of the advantages of the private sector? You can achieve great things in a company, right?
I’m still with Wisekey and happy to continue gaining experience within a cybersecurity company. But one should not idealize the private sector and play it off against the public sector.
Let’s talk politics. A look at your website shows that you are still doing some scanning. That doesn’t look like Maudet at all, the structured daredevil.
The four pillars of our “Libertés et Justice sociale” movement are clearly defined: health, housing, work and education. It’s not about making promises that nobody believes anymore, but about proposing quantifiable and realizable projects. We will gradually reveal more about these.
Your demand for public health insurance is already known. A left demand!
This is not left, as you say, but a question of pragmatism. For me, this puts the state back in the spotlight and, in this sense, is part of the liberal tradition. Because when it comes to healthcare and its costs, which affect everyone, you need a solid state that creates transparency. That is not the case at all today. For the citizens, there is a complete lack of transparency with regard to the costs. Geneva must start a pilot project. Public health insurance is the guarantee for transparency and better cost control. For some families in Geneva, premiums are higher than their rent. This is no longer acceptable.
If we want to turn the system upside down, wouldn’t a unified health insurance fund be the right solution?
Well, you have to start somewhere to get out of a standstill.
The people rejected the idea of a unified fund eight years ago. Why do you believe in it?
Eight years ago, the reservations were primarily of an ideological nature. Today, more and more players in the healthcare sector agree that public health insurance would be a way out of the impasse – without having to raise taxes.
So far, all attempts to change the system have failed. Why tackle the impossible?
When I, as Councilor of State, launched Operation Papyrus, which regularized undocumented people, I was told that this was impossible – even though the problem had been known for a long time. We went through with it because everyone saw that it met a need and ended a hypocritical policy. The needs must be the starting point. As far as health insurance is concerned, the needs are obvious: it cannot be that some people do without medical care because the premiums are too high.
Admittedly, health affects everyone, but is Libertés et Justice sociale left or right?
If you position yourself in this left-right spectrum, you stay in these traditional schemes. With our list, however, we want to break out of the party-political blockades and build bridges.
So you are the new Mouvement Citoyens Genevois? Neither left nor right?
That’s not the point, it’s not the same. We say that we have to break away from this policy of the politicians and initiate projects that can bridge the gaps. This is a constructive approach, not an anti-objective approach. Ideas are everywhere, good and bad. Left as right.
So the new Maudet is a populist.
If populism means humanism, being close to the people, and finding concrete answers to the problems people face, then I’m fine with that label.
You may have been away from politics for two years, but you don’t forget that easily. Aren’t you afraid that people will get fed up with you?
It is not about me! These elections are about having answers to the questions that concern Genevans about jobs, housing, education and health. For this reason, the list “Libertés et Justice sociale” was founded. That’s why citizens have the courage to get involved on my side. And in the end the people will decide.