Chances shrinking for Budapest's 2024 Olympic Games bid

Reporting from Budapest, Hungary - Officials behind Budapest's bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 are struggling to maintain the support of key government stakeholders three days after a petition revealed that nearly 20 per cent of eligible city voters want a referendum to decide the fate of the bid.

Already considered an underdog, Budapest has suspended its campaign and could withdraw as early as this week.

If Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the Hungarian Olympic Committee supported a withdrawal, he would submit a motion to that effect to the city council on Wednesday, the local news website quoted Tarlos as saying.

Furjes added: "The Hungarian Olympic family, the capital, Parliament, and the government have all made unified decisions".

Miklos Hajnal, a student who is co-founder of the Momentum group told in Budapest Monday "the number of signatures was certainly surprising, I thought, we'll make some public appearances, maybe like 30 minutes or so, and compared to that it's been insane".

This includes history. The games have been in LA twice, most recently in 1984.

Hungarian political officials have said they will meet later this week to discuss the bid's future. "This would be not only cowardice but also betrayal". Lajos Kosa, a senior Fidesz lawmaker, said the issue did not come up at a party meeting and was in the city's hands.

The Budapest Election Office must now rule whether enough valid signatures - 10 percent of Budapest's roughly 1.4 million voters - have been collected to call a referendum.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will elect the victor at a vote in Lima, Peru, in September 2017.

Los Angeles, who stepped in as the US candidate after Boston's bid collapsed in July 2016 is hoping to become first USA city to host the games, since it was last held in Atlanta in 1996.

The IOC vote will vote on the next host city in September 2017.

He said even a favourable referendum result would not save the situation now. "The wishes of the people will be respected", he said.

Momentum Mozgalom, aimed at the country's youth and political left, was formed in 2015 and plans to form a political party to take seats in the 2018 elections.

  • Julie Sanders