The Hungarian capital Budapest could decide as soon as next week whether to drop its bid to hold the 2024 Olympics after a petition with over 266,000 signatures opposing the games was handed in. That’s enough to force a referendum.
Hamburg, Rome and Boston have already abandoned their bids. That’s been blamed on the cost of hosting such an event.
A recent opinion poll suggests that the bid has grown increasingly unpopular among Hungarians.
The president of the Momentum movement behind the petition said: “People have to be given a chance to express their opinion and the best way to do this is through a referendum. We strongly ask the prime minister and the mayor of Budapest in the name of more than a quarter of a million people to allow this referendum to take place.’‘
Budapest’s Election Office must now decide whether enough valid signatures – 10 percent of the capital’s 1.4 million voters – have been collected to call a referendum.
Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos has said if a vote on holding the Olympics is called, he would ‘‘seriously consider’‘ a proposal to withdraw the bid.
If Budapest does pull out, it would leave only Paris and Los Angeles in the race to host the 2024 summer games.