Paris 2024 Olympic Games: organization, image, security… what impact will the legislative elections have on the Games ?

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: organization, image, security... what impact will the legislative elections have on the Games ?

The smooth image of unity embodied by Anne Hidalgo and Emmanuel Macron, with Tony Estanguet, could suffer from the political context between now and the opening of the Games. MAXPPP – Gonzalo Fuentes/POOL

The dissolution of the National Assembly by Emmanuel Macron has plunged the country into a period of uncertainty. With less than 40 days to go before their opening, the Paris Olympics are no exception. However, according to many observers, many things are already well locked in.

Can the dissolution of the National Assembly and the early legislative elections (June 30 and July 7) modify the rules of the Games? Asked in These terms the question may surprise. But less than forty days before the opening ceremony, on July 26, the period of political instability in which the country is plunged inevitably risks having an impact on the high mass Olympic Games prepared for seven years.

"Nothing will spoil the party", German President Thomas Bach hastened to promise of the IOC echoing the press release from the Organizing Committee which is intended to be just as reassuring: "We are ready to deliver the Games. We are in an operational phase and all the major decisions have been taken a long time ago."

JO-2030 in the Alps: IOC cold snap

The early legislative elections in France, which make the future contours of the government uncertain, affect the candidacy of the French Alps for the 2030 Winter Olympic Games: the IOC will not designate them as host on July 24 only if he has received the required public guarantees. "The current political situation in France", namely the dissolution of the National Assembly on Sunday with a vote expected on June 30 and 7 July, "did not allow the documents to be finalized", indicated Wednesday the executive commission of the Olympic body, meeting in Lausanne.

As expected, the body followed the advice of its future host commission by "recommending" the French Alps as the sole candidate for the 2030 Olympics, and the American city of Salt Lake City for the next edition of the Winter Games, in 2034, the penultimate stage before this double attribution

The final decision will be taken by the members of the Olympic organization meeting for their 142nd session in Paris, on July 24, two days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games ;#39;summer.

But if this vote was announced as a formality since the entry of the French Alps into "exclusive dialogue" with the IOC, last November, it is now "subject to surrender" financial commitments from the State and the two regions concerned, warned Karl Stoss, president of the commission for the future host of the Winter Games. This concerns the guarantee of delivery of the Games by the French government, and the "partnership contribution to the organizing budget" of the Olympic Games, on behalf of the two regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and the French State.

The delivery guarantee for the Olympics "will be signed by the person who can bind the government", explained Christophe Dubi , the executive director of the Games within the IOC. However, no one knows who will lead the French government between the legislative elections and July 24.

The French National Olympic Committee said it was confident in the guarantees that the State and the regions concerned could very quickly provide.

The COJO remains the sole project manager

The COJO recalls that it remains the project manager in shared governance with the sports movement, the State but also "many public and civil society actors."

"The organization of the Olympic Games was entrusted to a committee independent of the political context led by Tony Estanguet who is someone ;a very efficient and dynamic one. The government, the region, the sports movement are involved but it is the committee which organizes and is accountable for the success of the Games", confirms former minister Michel Barnier, who was co-president of the Albertville 92 Games (he was then president of the General Council of Savoie).

"Like a new liner launched towards the water and nothing will stop"

"Once they are launched, it’s irremediable, he assures. Like an ocean liner you built in a shipyard that begins to descend toward the waters. Nothing will stop it. Even if there is a change of minister following the elections, there will be a permanent administration to manage the files."

If the Macronist majority crumbles in the Assembly, key ministers in charge of issues could however jump in flight, notably Gérald Darmanin (Interior) and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra (Youth and Sports).

"A possible new government will not be in place before mid-July at best, operational rather at the end of July and serious things will not begin until September" tempers Jean-Loup Chapelet, specialist in Olympics at the University of Lausanne. An analysis shared by many constitutional experts, who believe that the establishment of a new government is likely to be long and complex.

Security: additional overload for police officers

The main concern could concern the impact on the security system, against a backdrop of an aggravated terrorist threat and when a planned attack has already been foiled at Saint-Étienne. "There is a police chief and a regional prefect who are in place and will not move, I have no worries in that regard", further reassures Michel Barnier.

"On the device itself, there will be no change, otherwise it would be catastrophic", confirms Bruno Bartocetti. The Montpellier resident, responsible in the south for the Unité police union (affiliated with Force Ouvrière) fears above all "an overload of activity with all the movements that he risks’ There may be during this period of uncertainty, whether demonstrations or gatherings. And this while we must continue to ensure Vigipirate and our agents have already canceled their leave to strengthen Paris during the Games and ensure the Province at the same time."

All this in an increasingly violent political context "and while the number of injured police officers has risen to 15,000 per year compared to 10,000 7 or 8 years ago."

Read also: 2024 Paris Olympics: "The dissolution of the Assembly is an opportunity for Russia, which wants to weaken France"

A disrupted rise in power

The fact remains that the legislative campaign risks "engulfing attention and disrupting the rise in power of the Games", according to some observers. Others fear that they will actually see  "fracture"the desired national unity behind the event, emphasizing that such an election in a host country less than a month before the opening is undoubtedly a first.

Athletes' reactions: “The feeling of being in a reality TV show”

After a few hours of shock, the French athletes begin to speak. On Saturday, a few minutes apart, footballer Marcus Thuram, in Germany for the Euro, and swimmer Florent Manaudou, in Chartres where he is participating in the French Championships, spoke out about the political situation in the country. On Sunday, Kylian Mbappé took a stand against “the extremes”.

« It is sad, very serious, Marcus Thuram lamented.This is the sad reality of society today… hellip; We have to go vote, tell everyone to go and vote and above all that as citizens, you, me, we have to fight on a daily basis to prevent this from happening again, so that the RN does not do not pass. »

If the dissolution in the National Assembly does not « not disrupt (his) sport, the Olympic champion in the 50m freestyle, in 2012 in London, did not hide his disappointment.« I have the impression that we have become a reality TV at the political level, admitted the man who hopes to be standard bearer for the Blues next summer in Paris. Already it was a bit complicated to trust politicians after all these years…hellip; Right and left, everyone is fighting to get a job. I find it a shame not to fight for ideas but to have a seat. »
M.R. and D.M.

Also read: VIDEO. Kylian Mbappé: "I don't want to represent a country that does not correspond to my values, to our values""

There is finally the risk of seeing the image of the Games, but also that of the country, tarnished if Paris had to welcome the world with a freshly appointed far-right Prime Minister appointed. "I think that the French are led to ask themselves who they want to lead the country but also who they want to welcome the world", a clearly stated by the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castera.

"I have confidence, we must hope for the success of the Games"

The Olympics held hostage on the political altar? We are certainly not there and we dare to believe that the head of state does not ;rsquo;is not engaged in such calculations. But the imminence of the Games could well weigh on the choice of certain voters.

"I have confidence, these Games have been well prepared, assures Michel Barnier. We must hope for the success of the Olympic Games, it is a question of national intelligence for a tourist country like ours."

Albertville 1992: the fear of the fog

Michel Barnier, co-president of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, remembers another threat: “A problem related to the weather since our opening ceremony, on February 8, 92, was planned in an open-air stadium. Philippe Decouflé's show was rehearsed a week before the hour, and we couldn't see the other side of the stadium because of the fog. We finally had very good weather on the opening day."

The former co-president of the 1992 Winter Games recalls the national unity needed for their success: "The Mitterrand government at the time was very unpopular, but Jean-Claude Killy and I worked very well with him. When I thanked the then Prime Minister, Edith Cresson, for her support at the closing ceremony, the whole stadium booed her". Proof that sport does not always succeed in making us forget the economic and political context.

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