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France: the advance of the elections shakes the preparation for the Olympic Games

France: the advance of the elections shakes the preparation for the Olympic Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) assures that the unexpected advance of the legislative elections in France will not “disturb” the Paris-2024 Games, But many fear that the open political crisis with the rise of the extreme right will impact this global event.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, shocked his country on Sunday night when he announced that legislative elections scheduled for 2027 would take place next June 30 and July 7, almost three weeks before the start of the Games.

The progression of the extreme right in France, which achieved almost a third of the votes in the elections to the European Parliament, forced the decision of the centrist Macron, that could be forced to govern with a far-right executive if it achieves a majority in the elections.

“Like many people, I was surprised to hear the president decide to dissolve” the National Assembly (lower house), said the mayor of Paris, the socialist Anne Hidalgo, who in turn recognized that Macron “could not continue as before.”

“But anyway, a dissolution just before the Games is really very disturbing,” added the councilor, the president’s rival in the last presidential election in 2022, during a visit to a school this Monday.

Thomas Bach President of the IOC.jpg

For IOC President Thomas Bach, the elections are “a democratic process that will not disrupt the Games.”

Reuters

The vote could cause political instability if a lower house emerges again without a clear majority for any party or if the National Rally party (RN), of the far-right Marine Le Pen, emerges as the largest in the country.

Before the announcement, observers considered that, in the event of defeat, Macron he could have dissolved the Assembly after the Olympic event and hoped for an eventual rebound in the polls, if the first Games in France in 100 years were a success.

Hidalgo stressed that from an operational point of view the elections will not affect the Olympic Games, messages echoed by the IOC President Thomas Bach who accompanied the mayor during the school visit.

“I think that all the installation work, the preparation of the Games, the infrastructure, is left behind and what remains is to welcome the entire world and we will do it with the joy we have of hosting” this Olympic event, said Hidalgo.

For Bach, elections are “a democratic process that will not disrupt the Games.” “France is used to holding elections and they are going to do it again, there will be a new government and a new Parliament and everyone will support the Games,” he reiterated.

The Paris Olympic Games will begin on July 26 with an unprecedented opening ceremony on the banks of the Seine, the first time this event will be held outdoors outside the main stadium.

The organizers promised “iconic” Games, with the City of Light as a backdrop, and until now security, the cleanup of the Seine River and repeated threats of strikes by the unions were the main concerns.

But the early legislative elections add new questions: which government will be in office at the time of the Games and which ministers will be in charge of security and the proper functioning of transportation.

The two-round elections will also mobilize hundreds of thousands of security forces, which will put greater pressure on them just weeks before France welcomes millions of visitors for the Games.

“We are in the last phase (…), all the main decisions have already been made, now we are operational,” the president of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee (OCOG), Tony Estanguet, tried to reassure.

But for David Roizen of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation think tank in Paris, the political turmoil could put an end to a “largely successful” phase for organizers, including the current Olympic torch relay.

Source: Ambito

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