PARIS — The new virus has shuttered all schools, banished cheek-kissing and upended daily life across France, but President Emmanuel Macron won’t let it disrupt democracy, so he’s maintaining nationwide elections this weekend. The virus is sure to dominate the voting process anyway, as French voters choose their mayors and tens of thousands of local officials in the first round of elections Sunday. Authorities fear the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes will scare people away from polling stations and have a serious impact on turnout. But postponing the elections would have been complicated, and would have exposed Macron to criticism from his many rivals that he was flouting democratic freedoms. Voting stations are under orders to allow a one-meter gap between people in queues, and to provide soap or hydroalcoholic gel and disinfectant wipes for voting machines. In addition, authorities advised voters to bring their own pen to sign the voting register. “We’ll have to make sure that the measures against the virus and health recommendations are strictly respected,” Macron said Thursday in a televised address to the French nation. The speech was aimed at curtailing the virus and calming the public, as France’s number of cases


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