Proposed ballot on Budapest Olympic bid clears legal hurdle

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) " A proposed national referendum on Budapest's bid to host the 2024 Olympics meets the initial, formal legal requirements, Hungarian election authorities said Friday.

The National Election Committee now has until Oct. 6 to carry out a full inquiry on the question asking citizens whether they want Parliament to repeal the law about bidding for and hosting the Olympics.

The question was submitted for approval to electoral authorities by opponents of Budapest's bid. The referendum still faces several potential legal hurdles and organizers need to gather 200,000 signatures in four months in favor of the vote.

A previous attempt to hold a similar referendum was rejected by the supreme court in February. Critics say the Olympics are too expensive, with a large risk of corruption.

A feasibility study published last year estimated development costs for the Olympics at 1.074 trillion forints ($3.9 billion), with net costs after the sale of venues and other revenues calculated at 774 billion forints ($2.8 billion).

A poll by Ipsos found that 58 percent of Hungarians were in favor hosting the Olympics.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said recently that he considered Budapest to have a "moderate" chance of winning, as it was a bidding process with "three Goliaths and one David."

Los Angeles, Rome and Paris are the other bidders.

The International Olympic Committee will select the host city in September 2017.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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