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Tarlós to discuss Olympic bid with MOB, government

In the light of the “lack of national unity” in the matter of the capital’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the Budapest Municipal Council today mandated Mayor István Tarlós to discuss the future of the bid with the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB) and the government, according to reports Wednesday.

Since youth movement and fledgling political party Momentum Mozgalom submitted more than 266,000 signatures last Friday, almost twice as many as it needed to call a referendum in Budapest on the capital’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, events have developed rapidly with respect to the capital’s bid for the games.

Although no official stance has yet been taken by the government, some voices have suggested that Budapest might withdraw from bidding for the games. Since the submission of the signatures, an apparent row has been brewing between the mayor and government over the matter.

The Fidesz majority on the Budapest Municipal Council today voted down an opposition proposal to bring forward the referendum on the Olympic bid, but no decision was made on whether to withdraw the bid. The city will continue talks with the government and MOB while the process of verifying signatures calling for the referendum is in progress.

Summarizing the debate, Tarlós said: “One thing that is pointless is to draw this thing out like strudel pastry.”

Meanwhile, online news portal index.hu reported that the Budapest Electoral Office (FVI) had scrutinized 4.95% of the 266,000 submitted signatures as of Wednesday and found that 11.57% were invalid for various reasons. However, the portal notes that even if this ratio were to be projected onto the entire body of signatures, the campaign would still easily pass the minimum threshold of 138,000 required to force a referendum.