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Political turmoil won’t derail Games, IOC and Paris 2024 say

POLITICAL upheaval in France won’t affect preparations for the Olympics, IOC President Thomas Bach and Paris 2024 organisers said after President Emmanuel Macron shocked France with his call for new parliamentary elections.

Macron called the snap election to try to reassert his authority after the far-right National Rally (RN) trounced his own party in Sunday’s European Parliament vote.

Voting rounds will be held on June 30 and July 7, the latter coming less than three weeks before the July 26-Aug 11 Olympics begin in Paris.

“France is used to holding elections, they will do it one more time, there will be a new government and everyone will support the Olympics “, Bach said during a Paris 2024 run-up event in the French capital, adding that French political leaders were united in their support of the Games.

“I have no indication whatsoever that this unity will break now only a couple of days before the Games open,” said Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

However, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party, struck a more critical tone.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends the opening of the Executive Board meeting at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Hidalgo said she was “having a hard time understanding” why Macron chose to throw the country into political uncertainty so close to the Games, calling the move “one more blow” by the president.

Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet said his team was “more determined than ever” to make the Games a success.

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“There were around 10 elections since we launched the candidacy for the Olympics and we understood how to work with the public actors,” he said.

In a statement to Reuters, Paris 2024 organisers said they were ready to deliver the Games after seven years of preparation and to help unite the nation.

“With just a few weeks to go before the Games, we have entered a highly operational phase. All the major decisions have been taken a long time ago,” the statement read.

“The state is obviously a key player, but we know that we can count on their full engagement and that of our public services, even in the context of these early elections, to move forward on the remaining issues,” it added.

By The African Mirror