Coalition Wants Referendum On Prague 2020 Summer Games Bid

An alliance of mayors, associations and prominent citizens want Prague city hall to hold a referendum on whether Prague should host the 2020 Summer Games, but Radio Prague reports they face hurdles in trying to “push the controversial question to a vote”.

The alliance, which includes associations such as the environmental group Amika, and former Prague Mayor Jan Kasl, launched its bid Tuesday for a referendum. They say that such a large event should not be staged without consulting at least some of the citizens who will likely pay for the event years after the closing ceremony.

Kasl says, “we want to engage either all Czech Prague citizens to support the Olympic Games or be against, yes or no, because the decision cannot be the decision of some politicians who would want to cut the ribbon, open stadiums, or, let’s say, be applauded”.

Most of the referendum’s backers are concerned about Prague Mayor Pavel Bem’s enthusiasm for hosting the Games, pointing out problems with pollution and the environment, money being drained from the regions, and the half billion crown bill that will probably have to be paid by all Czech citizens.

Referendum organizers must get 60,000 signatures to force the city council to vote on the issue. Radio Prague reports the result would be binding if more than 35 per cent of citizens take part and more than 50 per cent vote one way or the other.

During the next few weeks organizers will post leaflets explaining their stance and call for signatures through the mail. Their target is for the vote to be called within a few months before more money is spent on bid preparations.

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