Marseille: the socialist hold-up

    Marseille: the socialist hold-up

    This is one of the peculiarities of the town hall: it does not have a staircase leading to the first floor, where the offices of the mayor and his first deputy are located. To get there, you have to go through another building, linked to the town hall by a covered walkway. We could see it as a metaphor for the election of Benoît Payan. “He did not want to enter through the back door and was probably dreaming of another election,” confirms one of his relatives. Michèle Rubirola, she had difficulty, lately, to climb the steps leading to this catwalk …

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    On Monday, the first deputy of the ecologist mayor who resigned was elected with the votes of the Marseille Spring and those of the group of Samia Ghali, the LR opposition having decided to leave the chamber before the vote so as not to attend this “masquerade of sacred ”. In the process, he led his first municipal council, whose program had been reduced from 220 to 102 deliberations. Only technical subjects, everything that was political having been withdrawn to take no risk and avoid controversy. This surprise election has the merit of bringing clarity. “We could have continued to pretend for a long time. The reality is that she was not a mayor. Many assistants were waiting for this moment, indicates a member of the team. They no longer knew where to look for the arbitrations. Michèle did not see them and Benoît could not make these decisions. “Symbol of this immobility: if a new director general of services had indeed been appointed, his 14 deputies are still from the Gaudin era.

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    “Benoît is like all the Socialists of Marseille, he wants to become mayor since he was born,” confirmed recently, jokingly, the senator of Bouches-du-Rhône Marie-Arlette Carlotti. She was the political godmother of Payan, this grandson of Italian immigrants, son of a carpenter and an employee of the Urssaf, a notary by training but never having practiced, who, at 14, decided to join the local section of the PS. “People say of me that I am above all a professional politician. This commitment, I assume it and I claim it ”, he declared in his first speech, a few moments after his election. First advisor to the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region Michel Vauzelle, then agent of the department headed by Jean-Noël Guérini, the powerful boss of the socialist federation, Payan joined in 2012 Marie-Arlette Carlotti, who became Minister Delegate of François Hollande in charge of disability and the fight against exclusion.

    “Benoît invented the Marseille Spring. Jean-Luc Mélenchon did not want him. So he had the intelligence to deport himself

    Elected to the municipal council of the Phocaean city in 2014, he quickly established himself, with a certain oratory talent, as leader of the opposition against Madré Gaudin. “This hard worker knows the field and the files, to say the least,” underlines the former elected ecologist passed by the MoDem Jean-Luc Bennahmias. The following year, he was elected with Michèle Rubirola to the departmental. “We learned and tamed each other at that time,” says Payan. In the municipal elections, he leaves the head of the union list of the left to the ecologist. “Today, a large number of Marseillais feel robbed, duped. Me, I am not in this logic ”, swears Renaud Muselier, president LR of the Paca region, who impatiently awaits to work with the new councilor of the second city of France.

    “Benoît invented the Marseille Spring. Jean-Luc Mélenchon did not want him. So he had the intelligence to move away. At a time when Rubirola leaves, it is not abnormal that it is him, ”decrypts the former PS deputy Patrick Mennucci. Who recalls that the Socialist Party, an organization so much maligned, has trained a whole generation of local leaders at the head of large cities: “Michaël Delafosse in Montpellier, Mathieu Klein in Nancy, Mathieu Hanotin in Saint-Denis, they all know each other…” Elected five months after them, Benoît Payan will have to work harder.

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