En Indre-et-Loire, the replacement of the prefect, Marie Lajus, by Patrice Latron, via a decision of the Council of Ministers, on a proposal from the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, does not pass. Locally, his replacement is perceived as a dismissal and very quickly messages of support for the former prefect, who arrived in Tours in 2020, flourished on social networks. Local elected officials, parliamentarians, a former attorney general and association leaders have been mobilizing for a few days to protest, via petition, forum or letter to the executive, against this decision.
In a grandstand at World, broadcast Monday, December 26, about fifty local elected officials, heads of associations, senators, etc. of the departments of Ariège, Charente and Indre-et-Loire, where the prefect practiced, are protesting against this decision. “An injustice”, in their eyes. They rely in particular on an article by the chained duck of December 14 ensuring that she would have been dismissed following interventions by elected representatives of the majority with Gérald Darmanin.
It is explained that Marie Lajus has drawn the wrath of elected officials for opposing the project to set up an incubator for start-ups and researchers, called Da Vinci Labs, in an unbuildable wooded area, in the park of the Louise-de-la-Vallière castle, in Reugny, near Tours. She had warned the elected officials, according to concordant sources, that if they decided to make the land constructible, she would be obliged to attack the legality of this decision in the name of the Climate and Resilience Law.
A petition collects more than 2,000 signatures
In this forum, the signatories salute the “professionalism” of the prefect, “his impartiality, his probity and his humanity” and call on President Emmanuel Macron to repair “this injustice”. A petition, initiated by Charentais and entitled “Marie Lajus, an honest prefect”, collected, Thursday, December 29 in the morning, more than 2,300 signatures.
Questioned by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the office of the Minister of the Interior argued that the appointments of prefects fell “within the discretionary power of the executive”. No further comment.
The prefect’s life is such that his “lease is only for seven days”. Seven days, the average time between two councils of ministers. “It is part of the function (of prefect) to be able to jump on a Tuesday”, eve of the Council of Ministers, noted one of them to AFP. These senior civil servants, whose bodies will disappear to merge on 1er next January in that of “State administrators”, whose mission is to implement public policies in their department and are therefore the armed arms of the rulers.
A woman described as “brilliant” and “uncompromising”
Marie Lajus entered the prefectural office ten years ago, after a career as a police commissioner. She was notably spokesperson for the Paris police headquarters. She is described as brilliant, “hyper hardworking” and endowed with a strong character. “Intransigent” on respect for the rules, she must have annoyed some elected officials, explains one of those who worked with her. “Everyone thinks (in the prefecture) that it’s disgusting that she jumped because she’s a good prefect,” adds a prefect on condition of anonymity.
But the broadcast on social networks of a video taken the day of his departure from the prefecture of Tours has irritated the majority. We see Marie Lajus brandishing the article, put under glass, from chained duck. A gift from his collaborators. “It’s disloyal,” said a member of the majority to AFP. “The broadcast of this video was not of his doing. Just as she has nothing to do with the petition or the platform”, assures those around her who fear that all this ultimately not serve it.
In a press release, the municipal council of Reugny assured “that no form of pressure has been exerted by the municipal elected officials in charge of the file” and denounced “such schemes, if they are proven”, before ” join in the tribute paid” to Marie Lajus “as to her qualities of probity, integrity and her keen sense of the general interest”.