Hungarian Supreme Court Blocks Budapest 2024 Referendum

Hungary Olympic Committee Logo
Hungary Olympic Committee Logo

Hungary’s Supreme Court Wednesday blocked a proposed referendum on Budapest’s 2024 Olympic bid.  The decision locks in the city’s bid and its spot on the final ballot.

”The question suggests that voters may give their opinion about the submission of the bid, even though it will have been submitted by the time of the referendum,” the supreme court known as the Kuria explained in a statement released after the decision.

The Hungarian Olympic Committee nominated Budapest to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games last September 15 and the first phase of bid documents are due into the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 17.

After the city council voted 16-14 to reject a referendum last year, opposition groups continued to push forward for a referendum that was subsequently approved by the Budapest voting committee, only to be later appealed by members of the same group.

The Kuria further explained that a decision to bid was already made last year and it has the support of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Opponents had been hoping to put the Olympic bid to a public vote by collecting 140,000 signatures that would have forced a referendum as early as the spring.

The Kuria’s decision cannot be appealed according to the nation’s highest court.

Hungarian Parliament in Budapest
Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (Photo: hunszabi – Indafoto)

This will be welcome news for the IOC that was forced to select from among only two candidates for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games after six interested cities to host the Games dropped out – three due to referendums.

However AP reports that referendum advocate Katalin Erdelyi is planning to submit another question to the voting committee because the court’s decision was “illogical.”

Budapest is competing alongside Los Angeles, Paris and Rome for a contract to host the 2024 Games when the IOC chooses in September 2017.  Hamburg dropped out of the race in November when it lost a referendum by a narrow margin.

Meanwhile bid opponents in Rome continue to call for a referendum over the Italian bid for the Games.  The left-wing Radical party has begun a campaign to derail the bid and is collecting signatures in an online petition.  The Rome bid committee has claimed that there is no need for a referendum as strong support for the proposal is in place.

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