Mantes-la-Jolie: resignation of mayor Raphaël Cognet in conflict with Pierre Bédier

Published on 14 Jan. 2022 at 17: 20Missed updated on 14 Jan. 2022 at 17 : 42

The Mantois will be called upon in a few months to decide between the list of Raphaël Cognet, resigning mayor (DVD) of Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), and that led by Jean-Luc Santini, current deputy (LR) to the planning and close to Pierre Bédier, the boss of Yvelines . The election is made inevitable by the resignation of Raphaël Cognet on January 7 and seven of his running mate a few weeks earlier.

Since the beginning of autumn, the mayor of this municipality of 42.000 inhabitants could only count on a minority of faithful within the municipal council . The latter can still meet, but no longer has the quorum necessary to elect a new mayor. Pending the upcoming by-election, Sidi El Haimer, previously first deputy, is acting.

This situation is the result of the open war between the powerful president of the department Pierre Bédier, 64 years and his former colt Raphaël Cognet, 42 years old, who became mayor and president of the Grand-Paris-Seine-et-Oise urban community, GPS & O . The conflict, hidden for very long months, was revealed in broad daylight on 17 last September when

Pierre Bédier, still municipal councilor of Mantes, expressed his wish to see Raphaël Cognet leave his seat as mayor.

So promising beginnings

Between the two men, however, everything had started well. In 1995, Pierre Bedier, former minister, mayor of Mantes (since 1995) and deputy for Yvelines, recruits Raphaël Cognet as parliamentary assistant. The elected official makes him one of his main collaborators, then integrates him into his electoral system. Raphaël Cognet becomes 2004, deputy of the new mayor of Mantes (close to Pierre Bedier), Michel Vialay. In 2014, when the latter becomes deputy, Raphaël Cognet, then 15 The deputy, is chosen by the municipal council, to succeed him. In 2020 the list led by the young candidate wins with 72% of votes and the following July, the latter is elected president of the largest urban community in France, GPS & O (420. 000 inhabitants). Behind the scenes, Pierre Bedier helped his foal climb the ladder.

But once Raphaël Cognet at the helm of the city, relations quickly become strained. “I had my first doubts from 2020. Raphaël Cognet does not understand the notion of transmission. I no longer wish to be mayor of Mantes. But I want to be able to defend and protect the poorest territory in Yvelines,” says Pierre Bédier. For Raphaël Cognet, the real reasons for the attacks of the president of the department are much more prosaic. “Pierre Bédier wanted to dissuade me from making a report to the police concerning the embezzlement of the Val-Fourré market, I did not listen to him”. In this case, two market ushers were indicted for a major racketeering on traders. A trial is to be held in November. Raphael Cognet also asked his first deputy at the time, Sidi El Haimer, indicted in the case, to resign by attacking that justice decide.

Sharp Arrows

Pierre Bédier, who criticizes Raphaël Cognet for not having been able to support a member close to his team, mainly reports their disagreement on the management of the city, in particular the Val-Fourré district . The latter is a political priority district of the city among the poorest in France. It counts approximately 42.000 inhabitants, i.e. nearly half of the population of Mantaise. For years, it has benefited from an ambitious urban renewal programme. “Raphaël Cognet does not defend him. He wanted to let go of the Caf and the CPAM, public services that are nevertheless essential. I’m afraid it will lead to a cut off from the city”.

Today, everything is a pretext for the two men to shoot arrows. Raphaël Cognet accuses Pierre Bedier of perpetuating a pyramid system, while the president of the departmental council believes that Raphaël Cognet does not really work on his files and relies mainly on Catholic networks close to the Sens Commun movement. “I joined Sens Commun for a year, admits Raphaël Cognet, but Pierre Bedier forgets to say that he used the networks of Sens Commun to take over the presidency of the LRs in the department”. The upcoming campaign, which we do not yet know if it will take place before or after the presidential election (the prefect of Yvelines must decide), promises to be tense. Perhaps a slight hope for the left which is trying to unite in the face of the war of the right.