the gunslinging uncles on the municipal council


Robert Diez, in front of the town hall of Bonneuil (Indre), November 27, 2023.

Ln October 11, the Council of Ministers focused, among other subjects, on the consequences in France of the Hamas attack against Israel and on the simplification of town planning rules for neighborhoods degraded by urban riots. He also mentioned – very briefly – the case of Bonneuil (Indre). What is this village of seventy-five inhabitants, located on the borders of Limousin and Poitou, “responsible” for to deserve to be cited at the highest summit of the State? A huge democratic blunder. So enormous that a decree from the President of the Republic decided that day to dissolve its municipal council. The measure, very exceptional, is the prelude to new elections, on December 3 and 10.

For three years, an epic discord has ignited Bonneuil, a town without shops or schools. On one side, the mayor, Robert Diez, 84 years old. On the other, five of his six running mates, most of whom are retired. Insults, fights, complaints of harment, police custody, reminders of the law… So peaceful in appearance, the municipality is at a complete standstill, unable to vote on its budget. Headed by a retired admiral, a trio of administrators was appointed by the prefect of Indre to handle current affairs. And bring calm back to the “village of fools”as it is called around.

Everything, however, seemed placed under the sign of cordial understanding at the start, as evidenced by the smiles displayed on the photo of the “Bonneuil differently” list, candidate for the municipal elections of March 2020. The idea was to propose an alternative to the current mayor, to give new impetus to community life and to promote heritage. The harmony will quickly crumble.

Shortly after its installation, the new team decided to offer a reception to the population. Robert Diez, newly installed in the mayor’s chair, believes that the bill (160 euros) must be shared by all the new elected officials; not them, for whom the bill must go to the municipality. First tensions. Soon followed by others, when choosing the Christmas tree, planted in front of the town hall: natural for him, reclaimed wood for them.

Three years of immobility

War (picrocholine) is declared. There will be confusion around rainwater tanks, archives to clify, municipal blog to create… When they were still speaking to the press, the supporters who became opponents castigated the“autocratic attitude” of a mayor who, according to them, decided everything, alone. Slander, for this one: “The truth is that they wanted to take power by pushing me to throw in the towel”, indicates the councilor, who returned to live in the village in 1996 after having been a receiver and driver for the RATP. The incredible will then be followed by the punch. Robert Diez is thrown to the ground, inside the town hall, by one of his deputies in June 2022. Again a year later, when he “wastes municipal water”according to its detractors, by watering the planters in the town center.

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