Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid Referendum Plans Blocked Again By Hungary’s Top Court

Investigative Journalist Katalin Erdélyi (Átlátszó.hu)

Investigative Journalist Katalin Erdélyi (Átlátszó.hu)

A call to hold a national referendum over Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympics was rejected again by Hungary’s supreme court.  The Kuria, the nation’s high court, upheld key parts Wednesday of a lower court decision blocking the vote, saying the question being asked was not sufficiently clear and could potentially mislead voters.

Katalin Erdelyl, the investigative reporter who filed the request, has proposed several referendums on Budapest’s bid, both at the national and the city level.  Earlier this year a national vote was similarly rejected by the Kuria while a city-wide referendum was approved but later abandoned by the reporter after she failed to collect the required 140,000 signatures on a petition within 30 days.

Erdelyi said at the time that she had received late notice and was unable to collect the signatures by the deadline.

Anti-Olympic bid activists believe that the Games would be an unnecessary financial burden for the nation and would divert funds from other needed projects.  A spokesperson told GamesBids.com that the opponents support Erdelyi’s initiative but believe the logistics to get a referendum approved, including the required signatures, are prohibitive.

Erdelyi told GamesBids.com “I think the Olympic Games are too expensive for Hungary, and Hungarian people have the right to decide if they want it or not.”

Bridge crossing Danube River in Budapest, Hungary (Wikipedia Photo)

Bridge crossing Danube River in Budapest, Hungary (Wikipedia Photo)

She said a separate new effort to hold a referendum in Budapest was currently going through the legal channels.

Bid organizers claim that polls show two-thirds support for the bid across Hungary.

Last year Hamburg pulled out of the 2024 race after narrowly losing a binding referendum while Rome excluded itself in October after the city’s mayor and council withdrew support for the project.

Budapest’s remaining competitors for the 2024 Games are Los Angeles and Paris.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select the host city September 13.

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