Potential Referendum Looms For Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid

budapestlogowideAccording to Hungarian electoral authorities, a proposed national referendum on Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympics has met the formal legal requirements, AP reports.

The National Election Committee now has until October 6 to carry out an inquiry on the question, which asks citizens whether they want Parliament to repeal the law about bidding for and hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.

In February the Supreme Court of Hungary rejected a similar appeal to hold a referendum by opponents who believe hosting the Games will be too expensive and vulnerable to corruption.  If the referendum is approved, those behind it will need to collect 200,000 signatures within four months from those who support holding a vote.

Journalist Katalin Erdélyi, who writes for the liberal Átlátszó.hu website is opposed to Budapest hosting the 2024 Games and her proposed referendum question that is now under review asks: “Do you agree that Parliament should rescind Law Number LVIII of 2016, on the bid to host the 33rd Summer Olympics and the 17th Paralympics?”

Budapest bid organizers are working on submitting stage 2 of the bid documents before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) October 7 deadline.

Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid Display at Hungary House in Rio (GamesBids Photo)

Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid Display at Hungary House in Rio (GamesBids Photo)

Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Games was cancelled late last year after citizens of the German city narrowly voted against the project in a planned referendum.  An Italian group is working to organize a referendum on the embattled Rome bid for the 2024 Games.

An Ipsos poll recently revealed that 62 percent of Hungarians are in favor hosting the Olympic Games.

The 2024 bid is widely considered a two-horse race between Los Angeles and Paris, with Budapest an outsider.  But last month at the Rio Olympics bid Chief Balázs Fürjes vehemently denied that the Hungarian city was an underdog telling GamesBids.com instead that a strong Olympic tradition and a reputation for delivering on time and on budget made Budapest the ideal city to host the Games.

Budapest has never hosted the Olympic Games despite six previous bids.  It is bidding among Los Angeles, Rome and Paris with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to select the host city September 13, 2017.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil