What we know about the lightning eviction of Marie Lajus, prefect of Indre

Published on December 29, 2022 at 11:58 am

What we know about the lightning eviction of Marie Lajus, prefect of Indre-et-Loire – © PASCAL PAVANI / AFP

Dismissed from office on December 7, the senior civil servant was reportedly sacked after pressure from local elected officials in the face of a disputed real estate project.

On December 7, the Council of Ministers, on the proposal of the Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, appointed Patrice Latron prefect of Indre-et-Loire, replacing Mrs. Lajus. Locally, his replacement is perceived as a dismissal and very quickly messages of support for the former prefect, who arrived in Tours in 2020, flourish on social networks.

A controversy against the backdrop of a controversial real estate project

Her supporters in particular on an article in the “Chained Duck” dating from last 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 a wooded area that cannot be built on 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 on behalf of the Climate and Resilience law.

Support of local elected officials in a forum in the “World”

In a platform in the “World”, broadcast on Monday, around fifty local elected officials, heads of associations, senators, etc. departments of Ariège, Charente and Indre-et-Loire, where the prefect practiced, protested against this decision. “An injustice”, in their eyes. In this forum, the signatories salute “the professionalism” of the prefect, “his impartiality, his probity and his humanity” and appeal to the president Emmanuel Macron to right “this injustice”.

Local elected officials, parliamentarians, a former attorney general and heads of associations have been mobilizing for a few days to protest, via petition, forum or letter to the executive, against the recent dismissal of the prefect of Indre-et- Loire Marie Lajus. A petition, initiated by Charentais and entitled “Marie Lajus, an honest prefect” collected Wednesday afternoon nearly 2,000 signatures.

No comment from the executive

Questioned by 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 body will disappear to merge next January 1 into that of “State administrators”, have the mission of implementing public policies in their department and are therefore the armed arms of the rulers.

“Hyper hardworking”

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 prefectural) 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 irritated the majority. We see Marie Lajus brandishing the article, put under glass, of the “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 of this will ultimately serve her.

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 “s associated with the tribute paid” to Mrs. Lajus “as to her qualities of probity, integrity and her keen sense of the general interest”.

What we know about the lightning eviction of Marie Lajus, prefect of Indre-et-Loire