The most recent attempt to force a referendum over Budapest’s bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been staved off by Hungary’s National Election Committee after the body voted Wednesday 9-2 against the proposed question.
It’s the second time investigative journalist Katalin Erdélyi has tried to force the Olympic project to a public vote having been rejected earlier in the year with a differently worded question. The question considered for Wednesday’s decision was submitted in September as: “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 will be relieved that the campaign won’t have to face a risky vote; Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Games collapsed late last year when it lost a referendum by the narrowest of margins even after public opinion polls showed the bid had majority support. Relieved too will be the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that could already see the initial bid field of five dwindle to only three if Rome departs the race, as expected next week. Rome’s Mayor removed her support for the bid after she said the project would be “irresponsible” while other more critical city projects require focus.
An Ipsos poll recently revealed that 62 percent of Hungarians are in favor hosting the Olympic Games.
Along with Rome and Budapest’s other rivals Los Angeles and Paris, the Hungarian capital must submit stage 2 of the bid book by Friday – the IOC deadline for paperwork that is to include stakeholder guarantees. The next evaluation dashboard will be reviewed by the IOC Executive Board December 6 and the IOC membership will elect the 2024 host city September 13, 2017 in Lima, Peru.
The contest is seen by many as a two-horse race between Los Angeles and Paris, with Budapest being an outsider – but Hungarian officials vehemently deny that this is the case. IOC decisions are often unpredictable and sometimes controversial, leaving the race wide open.