The lack of support for Budapest Olympics

a) The support for the Olympics in Budapest is missing

The International Olympic Committee have established that one of the conditions of candidacy for the Olympic games is widespread support. However, a survey conducted by Publicus has concluded that support for the 2024 Olympic games in Budapest is virtually missing from all classes of Hungarian society. Three quarters of those asked thought that the money should be spent on other things, and two-thirds thought that the country is frankly too poor to host the Olympic games. Respondents would rather increase spending on education, healthcare together with using such funds to alleviate poverty. Eight out of ten people who have been asked who would support hosting the games would do so out of national pride or out of enthusiasm for Hungarian achievements, six out of ten respondents thought that organising the games would improve the country’s image. Although, if we confront the respondents with the expected costs, support for hosting the games halves. The majority believes that the government informs the populace rather one-sidedly about the ins and outs of hosting the Olympics. Among Fidesz voters, if not exceedingly, yet there is support for the Olympics, among them the majority still takes the stand that it would simply cost too much.

b) It is not enough that the majority of the voters of the ruling party support hosting the games

On the one hand, widespread support does not precisely mean that something is narrowly supported over being opposed, but rather that most people support it with a few exceptions. On the other hand, barely two million people voted for Fidesz in 2014, which is the fifth of the country’s population. In Budapest, where the Olympics is to be held according to the latest information, Fidesz currently stands at 22% and the parties in opposition if we exclude Jobbik, together stand at 34%, so the difference is more significant, then it was for Fidesz in 2014.

Drawing on all this, we can safely conclude that even among Fidesz voters, support for the Olympics in Budapest is far from excessive.

Furthermore, these voters neither represent the country’s population, nor all party voters, especially not in Budapest.

The survey conducted by Publicus that accounts for undecided and all other party voters clearly represents that the country as well as Budapest mostly opposes hosting the game.

The ruling party was responsible to acquire regarding such a monumental issue, they should have asked the Hungarian people before embarking on a decision that is to affect all of our futures.

c) The ruling party could have proposed a referendum, but it has failed to do so

Hosting the Olympic games requires adequate responsibility and self-knowledge from the side of the bidding country and the city itself. It is no coincidence that several cities who would initially show interest in bidding for the games have eventually withdrawn their bid for candidacy following a decision made either by the leadership of the city or the people themselves. Rome was the last one to withdraw from the competition, in last September. Similarly, in Rome there wasn’t widespread support for bidding for the Olympic games in 2024, and the city is still paying its debts off for hosting the 1990 FIFA world cup.

Furthermore, the Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi who is committed to eradicate corruption was concerned that due to apparent fraudulent practices, the only people who would profit from hosting the games would be the already wealthy contractors.

Boston has also withdrawn their bid after the success of the No Boston Olympics movement. In Hamburg the Nolympia movement has successfully initiated a referendum, through which the people of Hamburg have withdrawn their bid to host the Olympic games of 2024.

In Budapest it would be significantly harder to establish the required framework for hosting the games, the support is at a similarly low level and when it comes to corruption we are well known to “do better” in the words of the Prime Minister.

We should also take a look at the other side of the coin: if the government is committed enough, they can hold a referendum themselves.

Last year’s invalid referendum was reasoned to be necessary, because at the time of the election in 2014 the migrant question was not yet relevant in the EU, therefore the government wasn’t authorised to act in the name of the people regarding this question. There is a similar situation when it comes to the lack of authorisation from the side of the populace for the Olympic games, yet the government is rather reluctant to move this time around.

Seems that Fidesz is just as committed in their efforts when it comes corruption as Mayor Raggi in Rome, but apparently on different sides and they are purposefully avoiding a civil discussion regarding the candidacy of Budapest.

We, however think that the people of Budapest should be informed about what sort of sacrifices hosting an Olympics would impose upon them and we should inquire whether they are prepared to shoulder the burden.

– by Kata Urban; translated by Bálint Kulcsár