Villa Constitución, DF – With only days remaining before the beginning of the voting phase for the selection of the 2016 Summer Geolympiad, the city of Villa Constitución, Ardisphere, has withdrawn its proposal from the International Geolympiad Selection Committee.
The proposal had been seen from the start as problematic, given the city had already taken on the task of hosting football’s 2016 Archanta Cup, and some had accused the city and Distrito Federal governments of being unserious about the proposal, merely using it as a means to boost investment in large infrastructure projects.
Everyone’s worst suspicions were essentially confirmed when it was revealed that the president of the Ardispherian Geolympiad Committee, Aníbal Del Giacco, had been receiving kickbacks from several construction companies which, in turn, had received contracts for stadium and facility construction and upgrade projects. Severo Pecoraro, the current governor of the Distrito Federal, had gone on record several months ago as saying that VC didn’t need another giant commitment, right now, as it struggles with several desperately needed transportation infrastructure projects as well as the upcoming Archanta Cup. Del Giacco, however, had accused the District’s governor of trying to score political points, given Del Giacco’s own evident political ambitions as well as his strong relationship with Godofredo Fong Freire, current governor of Departamento Occidental and the Partido Federal’s current nominee for the presidency.
In fact, this emerging scandal has impacted the presidential race, now entering its final weeks ahead of the August 2nd balloting. Fong Freire has been running an already lagging challenge against the incumbent, Montserrat Nowak de Chang, but nevertheless had been viewed as a still-plausible spoiler in the presidential race due to the presence of a strong third-party challenger on Nowak’s left flank from the Green Party’s Ximena Ata, the iconoclastic but hugely popular current mayor of Caracol, DS. In the wake of the announcement by the federal prosecutor’s office of the charges against Del Giacco and several other officials on Thursday, poll numbers for the Partido Federal plunged further, propelling Fong Freire into third place, hinting at a possibly unprecedented setback for the Federales, who have taken either first or second place in every presidential election since the party’s founding in the 1850’s.
Nowak declined to comment on the withdrawal, opting to remove herself from the fray of the scandal. One commentator suggested that this was clearly a wise move, given the fact that members of her own Partido Socialista have also been implicated in the kickbacks scandal.
Ata, however, took the offensive, scoring points against both the establishment parties and summarizing, “Estos hechos nos demuestran, una y otra vez, lo necesario que es una nueva trayectoria en nuestra política ardesférica.” [“These facts show us, again and again, how necessary a new path is our Ardispherian politics.”]