BUDAPEST – Budapest City Council approved a motion on Wednesday to abandon its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games after a referendum push last month forced the government to withdraw its support.
A vote in the Hungarian capital’s city hall, which leaves just Paris and Los Angeles in the running, saw 22 councillors in favour of dropping the candidacy and six against.
Boston, Hamburg and Rome had already pulled out of the contest to follow 2020 hosts Tokyo, all citing concerns about the costs.
Last week a Hungarian government decree said that “the necessary political unity behind the bid had fallen apart”.
This came after a group of young activists collected over a quarter million signatures of Budapesters, almost double the threshold required to trigger a city-wide referendum.
Fearing spiralling costs and the risk of corruption, the activists said taxpayers should decide how their money is being spent.
Their “Nolimpia” drive was aided by several opposition parties critical of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, prompting the government to accuse them of turning the matter “into a political party affair”.
The City Council had to vote on the bid’s withdrawal before the Budapest 2024 bid committee can officially inform the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC is due to decide between Paris and Los Angeles on September 13.