December 10, 2015 / 5:35 PM / 2 years ago

Little impact on Rio Games from Rousseff impeachment: Bach

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The potential impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will have little effect on preparations for next year’s Rio Olympics, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Thursday.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff arrives at a news conference after a meeting with jurists defending her against impeachment at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

“Regarding the impeachment of President Dilma, we are watching this closely but with regard to the organization of the Olympic Games we are now in an operation phase where these kinds of political issues have much less influence than at other stages,” Bach told reporters.

On Thursday IOC Vice President Craig Reedie said: “It will inevitably affect the Games.”

Brazil’s Supreme Court suspended impeachment proceedings against Rousseff this week until it rules on the validity of a secret ballot that stacked a congressional committee with opponents seeking to oust the leftist leader.

Brazil’s severe recession has also hit preparations for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Bach said organizers had in recent months made up for lost time.

“We have seen the great progress being made and all this makes us, despite the political issues in Brazil and the impeachment, very confident of the success of the Games,” he said.

The IOC launched a cost-saving operation on Wednesday aimed at “cutting the fat” from the Games and releasing much-needed funds.

A working group drawn from both the IOC and Rio Games organizers will identify savings and report back in about six weeks.

“We know that the situation is not easy and we of course feel with the Brazilians,” Bach said.

“This is why for us it goes without saying we are ready to adapt the budget of the organizing committee, the budget of the Olympic Games to these challenges and we are doing this in a great team work with the organizing committee and the city of Rio de Janeiro.”

The Olympics run from Aug. 5 to 21.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Rob Hodgetts and Andrew Roche

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