It’s over – Budapest withdraws Olympic bid
Budapest, March 1 (MTI) – The Budapest Assembly voted on Wednesday in favour of a motion to withdraw the city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The bid was called into question after the Momentum Movement collected over 266,000 signatures to launch a referendum.
The decision was supported by 22 city representatives, while 6 voted against.
The proposal to withdraw the bid was made by Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos, who cited lack of unity on the issue as the reason.
Before the vote, the opposition parties held press conferences.
Jobbik blamed the government for the bid’s failure in the first place, insisting that it was unwilling to engage in a genuine dialogue with Budapest residents. The party also blamed the opposition Socialists for backpedaling on their earlier support out of political expediency.
The Socialists said that the Budapest Assembly’s government majority had withdrawn the city’s bid in an “unfair way” instead of allowing a plebiscite to go ahead. LMP similarly argued a local referendum should have decided the issue rather than the Budapest Assembly.
The Democratic Coalition (DK) said that the government could not ignore the opinion of 266,000 people who had put their signatures in favour of a plebiscite. DK representative Erzsebet Gy Nemeth said that whereas DK had opposed the bid from the start, she did not believe the gift of deciding its fate should have been in the hands of three people, namely the prime minister, Budapest’s mayor and the head of the Hungarian Olympic Committee.
The Egyutt party demanded the company in charge of the Olympic bid should be wound up immediately.
The Dialogue party accused the government of bluffing all along in supporting the bid. Dialogue lawmaker Gergely Karacsony insisted that the government would not have minded had the project to host the Games been ditched on the outcome of a referendum, arguing that the government would have otherwise undertaken guarantees regarding budget enforcement as well as clarifying public procurements.
Photo: Brick Visual