February 17th, 2017

Momentum presents 266,141 signatures for Olympics referendum, calls on Fidesz not to back out of it

The civil group Momentum Movement said it submitted over a quarter million signatures to the Budapest election office to initiate a local referendum on Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. “Our message to Fidesz, Viktor Orbán and [Budapest Mayor] István Tarlós is that it was a grave error on their part not to have sought out the public’s opinion on Hungary’s bid to host the Olympics,” András Fekete-Győr, the movement’s leader, said in front of the election office. Momentum will now do so in their place, he said, announcing that the movement had collected a total of 266,151 signatures.

He called on Orbán and Tarlós not to tymie the referendum, arguing that doing so would be an act of cowardice on their part. Getting in the way of the referendum would also be a betrayal of those who support Hungary’s Olympic bid, he added. Earlier in the day, Tarlós said he would consider whether Budapest’s bid should be withdrawn if local residents supported a referendum on it. Tarlós blamed the opposition for earlier supporting the Olympic plans then “backing out” and called the opposition’s attitude “treachery”.

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  • Hungarian

    Nice job to the people of Budapest and the Momentum Movement! A bit of hope.

  • It is another clear step forward, like the successful boycott of the Refugee-referendum, but it is always easier to rally people around staying home or voting No, than working for something.

    Next year will show if Budapest will rise up and reject Fidesz, including winning the majority of the Districts, then Fidesz changed the composition of the Budapest Council to ‘always’ support Fidesz before the 2014 year local elections.

  • pantanifan

    Looks like there is a blame game going on within Fidesz about this. Personally I’d love to see the Olympics in Budapest, but am worried about the excessive costs involved – maybe the best idea would have been a “Visegrád 4” Olympic bid or a Central European bid in cooperation with some of the neighbouring countries?


    Tarlós: “I won’t let them make Budapest the scapegoat”
    Kósa: “the Olympics are a matter for Budapest; Olympic Games are organized/held by cities, not by governments or parliaments”
    Tarlós: “If Budapest is responsible, why did State funds have to be spent on the whole project, and why was a Government Commissioner appointed for the Olympics, or why did the Hungarian Parliament – with a big majority – vote in favour of this question?”

    • National Hiphop

      Tarlós has a fair enough point there, although he happily went along with the Olympics bid flow till last Friday.

      • pantanifan

        Apparently many of the opposition district mayors earlier voted in favour of the Olympics at the Budapest Council Meeting (Horváth Csaba, Karácony Gergely, among others) – Tarlós also criticized them

    • roderickbeck

      Cities lose from hosting the Olympics. The real winner is the Olympic committee. Budapest’s proposal is laughably low. A typical winning bid is around $10 billion.

      • pantanifan

        Agreed, cities lose financially, but then if there are joint bidders, they would presumably share the burden and the loss? (From what I’ve read – though I have no expertise in this area – there are also some positive economic impacts from hosting the Games, through more tourism for example, provided the hosts don’t go bankrupt in the meantime). Otherwise the Olympics would have to be hosted by the same 5 or 6 countries all the time, which doesn’t seem in keeping with the “Olympic spirit”…

        • wolfi

          If logistics could be managed, a not too much overblown Olympic game could well be done say by Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava. These cities aren’t too far apart – 200 km is nothing nowadays. They could even include Lubljana or Munich or Krakov …

          But of course this won’t happen! It’s all about the money – advertising …

          Btw we don’t watch any kind of sports anymore and when I find some company paying, which means being really involved in the corruption, I put it on my personal “black list”!

        • roderickbeck

          I don’t believe a joint bid would be accepted. A requirement is easy access to all events. Budapest to Vienna is 3 hours by train or car. It won’t fly. And a joint bid will not reduce the total cost. Under any realistic proposal Budapest should be bidding around 8-10 billion, not 3 billion. So a three city split would still result in a 3 billion budget for budget.

          Joint operation of the Olympics have never been done and is likely to be difficult. The coordination between the three cities would be an ordeal.

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