Mayor Gaël Perdriau abandoned by part of his majority

In the midst of legal turmoil, some of the running mates of Gaël Perdriau, mayor of Saint-Etienne (ex-LR), decided to leave the municipal majority, plunging the city into an unprecedented political crisis. The announcement, made Tuesday during a press conference, marks a break with the mayor mired in an intimate video blackmail scandal.

Five months after its creation, the autonomous group of nine right-wing and centrist elected officials, under the Saint-Etienne Avant Tout banner, slammed the door of the executive. This departure, led by Nicole Peycelon, comes the day after a stormy municipal council, punctuated by resounding resignations and unexpected applause from left-wing groups.

A municipal council under high tension

The atmosphere was explosive at City Hall during the municipal council meeting on Monday June 24. In less than two hours, three hearing suspensions took place, one elected official was fired, and eight others resigned. These unusual scenes led the opposition to leave the session. The dissident elected officials, to the unexpected applause of left-wing groups, denounced the “authoritarianism of the mayor” and the “difficulties of working” in a climate of crisis caused by accusations of blackmail in the intimate video. “Democracy has had a hard time expressing itself,” lamented Isabelle Dumestre, municipal councilor (PS), adding that “we cannot discuss with this man” because of Gaël Perdriau’s double talk.

The decision of these elected officials, according to Peycelon, was catalyzed by the dismissal of a deputy for loss of confidence – a measure perceived as the last straw. “We don’t know why, all of a sudden, he put himself in battle gear for 2026 and excluded a colleague. This calls for a position on our part, because enough is enough,” declared the deputy for public tranquility and cleanliness, denouncing Perdriau’s growing authoritarianism. For many, it is the man more than the elected official who is targeted for his rallying to the dissident group of the majority, in opposition to Gaël Perdriau on the management of the sex tape scandal. “We both saw a loss of confidence. In these conditions, it is preferable that he prepares for the next elections on his side and that I can work calmly, without having to fear his maneuvers to destabilize me,” explains Gaël Perdriau.

A mayor in the hot seat

This divide comes at a time when Gaël Perdriau, 51, is under indictment for “blackmail”, “participation in a criminal association” and “embezzlement of public funds”. Perdriau, mayor since 2014, defends himself vigorously but struggles to maintain the unity of his team. The scandal, linked to a compromising video targeting a centrist deputy, fuels distrust and divisions within his team.

The rebels, now in opposition, do not stop there. They are seriously considering a collective resignation from the municipal council after the legislative elections, an action which could potentially trigger new local elections. In the meantime, the climate remains electric in Saint-Etienne, with ongoing legal confrontations and political tensions at their highest.

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