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SPOTLIGHT: EURO 2016 ON EDGE

The Euro 2016 soccer tournament starts Friday in France. By some accounts, it is the world's third biggest sporting event, after the World Cup and Summer Olympics. This year's contest will last for a month around the country's biggest stadiums and is expecting to bring 2.5 millions fans to attend games in the ten host cities. After the past 18 months marked by terrorist attacks and economic crisis, the French daily Le Parisien noted on its front page yesterday that the tournament could be the opportunity for the country to "finally have fun."


That may be wishful thinking. Today marks the seventh consecutive day of a national rail strike that has match ticket-holders all over Europe worried. Talks between national rail management and unions made progress overnight, but although "the end is near," as Le Monde puts it, no final agreement has been reached. The strike could be over as soon as tomorrow or Thursday, but not all unions have shown the same enthusiasm for the preliminary agreement.


On the other hand, the revelation yesterday that a French far-right extremist was reportedly plotting to carry out as many as 15 terror attacks against French synagogues and mosques during the tournament cast a chill around the country. Earlier, the weekly Le Point also reported French intelligence services had put 85 members of the Euro 2016 security personnel under surveillance. Away from the spotlight, France has been practicing disaster scenarios in stadiums. Perhaps the French Open tennis tournament can offer some optimism ahead of the soccer competition: Despite stepped up security, and even heavy rains, the annual affair, which ended Sunday, was drama free. The only bad omen for local soccer fans: no French players in the finals.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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