The City of Rome’s Capital Committee on Referendums on Thursday gave the green light for a public vote on whether the Italian Capital should move forward with its 2024 Olympic Games bid.
The Roma 2024 Referendum Group led by Riccardo Magi of the Italian Radical Party made the announcement on Facebook explaining that the group must now collect signatures from one per cent of the citizens of Rome – almost 30,000 – before the referendum can be confirmed. They expect to be able to do that in the next month.
Magi said “The referendum on the Olympics was approved. We dedicate this first victory of our campaign to Malagò and Montezemolo, who had argued that a local referendum wasn’t possible.”
“Now there’s only one way to be sure that the referendum will happen, collect the signatures of 30 thousand Romans. We, as radicals, we have conquered this opportunity. Now it’s all in the hands of the citizens.”
He added that a referendum “…is the best tool to open a public and transparent debate on the costs and benefits of the bid and whether the Romans believe that the the project is an opportunity to improve the quality of life in Rome.”
Rome is set to hold municipal elections June 5th, and finalizing the referendum may depend on the election results.
The Five Star Party, with a Mayoral candidate leading in the polls, opposes the bid and will certainly push forward with a referendum. Support for a vote on the bid varies with the other candidates.
Last year Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games was ended after the city narrowly voted against the German city’s plans. Boston’s potential bid for the Games was withdrawn after poor public support and the possibility of a referendum forced the mayor to step back and the United States Olympic Committee nominated Los Angeles instead.
Rome’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games was canceled four years ago when the Prime Minister refused to underwrite the costs of the Olympics amid an economic crisis across the nation.
Rome is up against Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris for the right to host the Games, the International Olympic Committee will elect a winner in September 2017.