Draft ordinance for Sapporo 2030 Olympic bid referendum expected to be rejected in Monday City Assembly vote

A draft ordinance brought to the Sapporo City Assembly Thursday proposes a public referendum be held to approve the city’s 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid.

The Sapporo Dome (Wikipedia Photo)

The Sapporo Dome (Wikipedia Photo)

The Communist Party proposed the ordinance in response to what it believes to be poor polling results from an official survey taken earlier this year that showed as low as 52 percent approve the Games across some demographics.  Pointing to Olympic bids referendums held around the world in recent years, the party wants Sapporo to allow all residents to weigh in.

Calls for a vote came on the final day of a three-day visit by International Olympic Committee (IOC) technical experts who were touring the Hokkaido region to evaluate venues proposed for the bid.

The plan is expected to be rejected in a City Assembly vote Monday as the majority Liberal Democratic Party and other parties are opposed to a referendum, according to Asahi Shimbun.  The ruling party believes a referendum typically targets older voters while the polling taken in March measures approval from the younger generation to be much higher.  City officials are looking for a wide range of citizen participation that cannot be relied upon by a general referendum.

According to the same mail-in poll referred to by the Communist Party, only 39 percent opposed the project.  In-person polling revealed as many as 65 percent are behind the bid.

Majority support Sapporo 2030 Winter Olympics bid according to new preliminary poll

A parliamentary resolution to endorse the bid was passed in March.

Rival Salt Lake City has revealed 87 percent across Utah support its bid plans showing that a public vote is not required.

In Vancouver, a proposed plebiscite was turned away by city council earlier this year, but a possible vote may be revisited if plans to bid are approved by the four First Nations that are expected to lead the project.

A binding referendum in parts of Catalonia over the Pyrenees-Barcelona bid was planned for July 24, but it has since been postponed after joint partners behind the project failed to agree on a venue allocation by the deadline last month.  The bid remains in hiatus until new plans are proposed.

The IOC has indicated that candidate selection may be confirmed in December with a final election possible next May 30 at its all-members Session in Mumbai, India.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.