Budapest to drop 2024 Olympics bid?

Bidding alongside powerhouses Los Angeles and Paris, Budapest has been considered a long-shot candidate.

FILE: Picture : Screengrab/CNN.

BUDAPEST - Budapest’s mayor will tell the government that political unity over the city’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics has broken down, according to a council resolution widely seen as the first step to it pulling its candidacy.

Under the resolution seen by Reuters and being put to the city council on Wednesday, Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos will ask the government to “clarify whether, as national unity ended, there is any point in sustaining Budapest’s candidacy.”

Bidding alongside powerhouses Los Angeles and Paris, Budapest has been considered a long-shot candidate, pinning its hopes on the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020 initiative that seeks a return for the event to simpler values and smaller price tags.

After local opponents of the candidacy last week submitted a quarter of a million signatures on a petition for a referendum on the bid, Tarlos suggested the city might quit the race.

But he also rejected responsibility for allowing the bid to fail, saying the issue was a national one.

Wednesday’s council resolution is due to authorise Tarlos to discuss the bid with the national government and Olympic committee.

According to a survey published on Wednesday by pollster Median, half of Hungarians would like Budapest to withdraw the bid, with only a third supporting it nationally.

In Budapest, 56% of voters are against the bid, which the poll showed was unlikely to survive a referendum.

With the ruling Fidesz party holding a comfortable majority on Budapest’s city council, the resolution is expected to pass on Wednesday.

The document also blames opposition parties for having “significantly weakened” Budapest's chances of hosting the event.

Attempting to shore up backing for the bid, Olympic Committee Chairman Zsolt Borkai told the council meeting: “Support can never reach 100%. Especially if there are people who want to turn the Olympics into politics. We should not allow that to happen.”