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French snap election before Olympics ‘extremely troubling’ – Paris mayor

Anne Hidalgo says she was “stunned” by President Macron’s decision to hold a vote just ahead of the Games

The decision to hold a snap parliamentary election weeks before the start of the Paris Olympic Games is “extremely troubling,” the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said on Monday.

The announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron late on Sunday left her in shock, she told reporters during a visit to a Paris school.

“Like a lot of people I was stunned to hear the president decide to dissolve the National Assembly,” Hidalgo stated.

At the same time, the mayor said she understood Macron’s need to call for the vote after the disastrous projected outcome for his party in the EU Parliament election. While Macron “could not continue” as if nothing happened, calling for a “dissolution [of the National Assembly] just before the Games, is really something that is extremely troubling,” Hidalgo said.

The mayor nevertheless attempted to downplay the potential impact on the Games, insisting the election would not actually disrupt them given that the preparations for the event were already largely complete. “What remains is to welcome the entire world and we will do it with the joy that we have to host these Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris,” she said.

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A similar stance was taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) head, Thomas Bach, who expressed confidence that the looming poll was “a democratic process which will not disturb” the Games. “France is used to doing elections and they are going to do them once again,” the IOC chief stated.

France is set to go to the polls to pick a new National Assembly on June 30, with a second round scheduled for July 7. Macron opted to dissolve the country’s legislature after his ‘Besoin d’Europe’ coalition performed poorly during the EU Parliament elections held over the weekend. The bloc is expected to win only around 15% of the vote, less than a half of what the right-wing National Rally party associated with Marine Le Pen is projected to receive.

 

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