Opposition Parties Push for a Budapest 2024 Referendum

Hungary Olympic Committee Logo

Hungary Olympic Committee Logo

Opposition parties LMP and Jobbik in Hungary are supporting a referendum for the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games, reports Hungarian online daily origo.hu.

Amtal Csardi of LMP said his party sees the issue of the Olympic Games a topic on which voters must be consulted.  He said his party “clearly” supports the “NO-Nepszavazast az Olimpiarol” initiative, a referendum on the Olympic Games.

Budapest’s city council last week voted 16 to 14, with 2 abstentions, to block a proposal by opposition parties to allow the taxpayers the opportunity to reject the bid.

But if Budapest’s voting committee approves the initiative, organizers can collect 140,000 signatures to force a referendum to be held.

Last month voters in Germany ousted the Hamburg 2024 Olympic bid when 51.7 percent rejected the proposal in  binding referendum.  That followed other recent European votes against bids including those from Munich, Krakow and Davos, Switzerland.

The 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid launched with six contenders before four European cities dropped out, leaving only two outsiders vying for the prize.

Should Budapest’s referendum be approved and lose the vote, the 2024 field could dwindle to only three.  Paris and Los Angeles are considered front runners in the race with Rome close behind.  Budapest, the only remaining city never to have hosted the Games, is seen as a long-shot.

One of the organizers of the initiative, Katalin Erdelyi, reportedly said they do not agree with governing politicians, making this decision on their own.  He added that since it is an “awful lot of money”, HUB 800 billion, citizens need to be involved in the decision.

Last week a telephone poll released by Nezopont Institute revealed that 53 percent in Budapest support a bid marking a gradual increase from numbers earlier in the year that showed less than half were behind the proposal.  But bid supporters would need to see that number increase should a referendum be held since typical such votes tend to attract more response from those who oppose.

Hamburg’s polls showed support over 60 percent only one month before the losing the final vote.

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