Laurent Marcangeli, mayor of Ajaccio, lawyer and close friend of Edouard Philippe

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Ajaccio (AFP) – Laurent Marcangeli, mayor of Ajaccio, close to former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and now president of the Horizons group in the National Assembly, has been crazy about politics since adolescence, with, from the age of 14, a passion for Jacques Chirac and General de Gaulle.

At the age when you line your room with rock posters, the Corsican teenager already displayed his taste for public affairs. At barely 16, he joined the right-wing RPR party.

“At that time, we called him + the mayor +, even when we were playing football, because he already did not hide his ambition for the town hall”, confided recently to AFP his best friend, the lawyer Paul Sollacaro. , son of the chairman assassinated in October 2012.

Elected Wednesday at the head of the 29 members of the Horizons group at the Palais-Bourbon, the deputy of Corse-du-Sud, 41, lawyer by profession, married and father of two children, was raised by parents with nationalist sensitivities, with in particular a trade unionist mother at La Poste.

At 12, he was present at the Furiani stadium in Bastia when a temporary stand collapsed before the Coupe de France semi-final between the Corsican club and Olympique de Marseille, leaving 19 dead and 2,357 injured.

Born on December 10, 1980, in Ajaccio, his political career now began in 2008, as an opposition municipal councilor in Ajaccio. Elected general councilor in 2011, this Ajaccien with steel blue eyes and pale complexion becomes a year later the youngest deputy of Corsica, at 31, under the colors of the UMP. It was at this time that he became friends with Edouard Philippe, the founder of Horizons.

In 2014, he put the right back in power in Ajaccio, winning against Simon Renucci (DVG), who had been running the town hall since 2001.

But he will quickly find himself uncomfortable within his political family. After supporting Alain Juppé in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, he left the party in March 2018, opposed to the line of the new party leader, Laurent Wauquiez.

“not nationalist”

This will not prevent him from retaining the town hall of Ajaccio in the first round on March 15, 2020, against seven candidates, three of whom are nationalist in colour. With this victory, he embodies the right-wing alternative to the nationalists in power on the island, becoming, in the territorial elections of June 2021, the leader of the first opposition force to the Assembly of Corsica.

In October 2021, he joined the Horizons party, supporting outgoing President Emmanuel Macron in February 2022 for a second term.

During the weeks of violence in March-April in Corsica, after the fatal attack on Yvan Colonna in Arles prison (Bouches-du-Rhône), where the independence activist was serving a life sentence for the assassination of the prefect Claude Erignac, Laurent Marcangeli had expressed his discomfort: “I am not a nationalist. Do I have the right? Thousands of women and men have asked themselves the question today”, he says to the Assembly from Corsica.

A position which will earn him, on April 3, during a demonstration in Ajaccio, to be the target of garbage tags.

Law on the accumulation of mandates obliges, he should soon give up his seat as mayor of Ajaccio to his first deputy, Stéphane Sbraggia as well as the presidency of the right-wing group united with the Assembly of Corsica and the community of agglomeration of the country ajaccian (CAPA).

Mr. Marcangeli had been placed in police custody in March 2018, with his first deputy, “in the context of a judicial investigation opened, among other things, on counts of embezzlement of public funds and forgery and use of forgery relating to the authorized character job seekers under Pôle Emploi subsidized contracts”. No one has been indicted since in this case, still under investigation.

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