Budapest, February 22 (MTI) – Any responsibility for missing the chance to host the 2024 Olympic Games will lie at the feet of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government, the opposition Jobbik party’s Budapest chief said on Wednesday.
“People have had enough — not of the idea of the Olympic Games but of the arrogant and conceited behaviour of the Orbán government”, György Szilágyi told a press briefing before a session of the Budapest assembly.
“People have had enough of the corrupt system first run by the Socialists and perfected by [governing] Fidesz,” he said. They could not bring themselves to believe the Olympics would hosted corruption-free, he added.Photo: MTI
A responsible government would consider withdrawing the bid because this is the only way to preserve the chance of winning it at a later point, he added. Jobbik was the only party to suggest a referendum on the topic from the 2015 start of the Olympic bid, Marcell Tokody, a Budapest representative of the party, said.
The Socialist Party said the verification of signatures should be speeded up to ensure that a referendum can be held in April or May.
Socialist representative Csaba Horváth told a separate news conference before the assembly meeting that the party maintained its support for holding the Olympics in principle. At the same time, it appears that the cost of holding another event, the world aquatics championships, was likely to quadruple, he said, adding that given the current state of affairs, hosting the Olympics would probably bankrupt the country.
He insisted that Budapesters were fed up with “government corruption and the cabinet’s communications”.
Horváth also said the proposal for this year’s city budget indicated that the Budapest leadership was not up to its job, adding that it had allowed the central government to strip away its funding.
The Democratic Coalition said Hungary and Budapest were unfit to organise an Olympic event, and the money spent on hosting the Games should instead go to towards health care, education and lifting children out of poverty. DK Budapest lawmaker Erzsébet Gy Németh told journalists before the meeting that a referendum should be proclaimed on the issue as quickly as possible.
LMP said the city leadership had no choice other than to allow a referendum on the Olympics to go ahead. Local lawmaker Antal Csárdi told a news briefing ahead of the city assembly meeting that the governing Fidesz party should dispose of its habit of “ruling over the heads of the people” and ignoring their opinion. He said the government was trying to pass responsibility for any collapse of Hungary’s bid for the Games on to the opposition “in an exceptionally cynical way”.
The opposition Dialogue Party called on the Budapest Assembly to immediately call a referendum on the city’s bid to host the Olympics without waiting to verify the signatures submitted to hold a plebiscite. Dialogue always maintained that the bid should be underpinned by the results of a referendum, co-leader Gergely Karácsony told a press conference before the Budapest Assembly’s meeting.
At the assembly meeting later on, the government commissioner in charge of the bid said there would be no chance for Budapest to win its bid to host the 2024 Games without joining forces. The chance to host the Games has never been this close and it now seems to be vanishing, Balázs Fürjes said.
Budapest assembly calls on mayor to consult Olympic cttee, govt over 2024 bid
The Budapest assembly passed a decree on Wednesday calling on the mayor to hold talks with the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the government on the future of the city’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
István Tarlós should discuss whether there is any point in Budapest maintaining its bid in view of “broken national unity” on the issue, according to the decree.
National unity on the bid has been compromised by parties and politicians who bear responsibility for breaking the consensus regarding the initiative, the decree said. By changing their minds in hope of making short-term political gains, they have betrayed the cause of the Budapest Olympics, it added.