January 29 - Madrid's new Mayor Ana Botella will tomorrow here throw her support fully behind the city's campaign's to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics at a special ceremony to launch the bid logo and website, the bid boosted by the public support of the Government despite the country's economic crisis.
Botella, the wife of Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, took over as head of Spain's capital last month after Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon was appointed Spanish Justice Minister by new Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
She will be accompanied at the event by Alejandro Blanco, the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), who is heading Madrid's bid.
Spain is among the European countries worst affected by the current economic crisis.
Its unemployment figure last week passed the five million mark in the last quarter of 2011, official figures showed.
The National Statistics Institute said 5.3 million people were out of work at the end of December, up from 4.9 million in the third quarter.
The rate rose from 21.5 per cent in the third quarter to 22.8 per cent - the highest rate in nearly 17 years.
Spain already has the highest jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone and is expected to slide back into recession.
But, unlike Italy, which has so far refused to publicly back Rome's bid for the 2020 Games, the Spanish Government has thrown its support behind Madrid following a meeting with the bid team (pictured below).
The country's Council of Ministers, led by Rajoy, have already promised that they will give the necessary financial guarantees for when Madrid hands in its Applicant File to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on February 15.
In a statement they said the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics "should be considered a statewide project, the Gobiernod [the Prime Minister] and Spain should embrace and support this project and with maximum determination."
The backing is a major boost for Madrid, who will be bidding to host the Olympics for the fourth time following unsuccessful bids for 1972, 2012 and 2016, which were awarded to Munich, London and Rio de Janeiro respectively.
The city claims to be Europe's biggest capital never to have hosted the Games.
"The Government is supporting the candidacy of the capital for the 2020 Olympics," said Soraya de Santamaría, the country's Deputy Prime Minister.
"We want to give support to Madrid 2020 to help build the momentum behind Brand Spain and help generate trust and confidence in our country."
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