December 02, 2015

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Budapest's city council on Wednesday rejected a proposal by members of opposition parties to hold a referendum on the Hungarian capital's bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos rebuffed the idea of a public vote as ''political demagoguery'' and said it was unclear whether residents had adequate information about the Olympics two years before the host city is chosen.

''The bodies of popular representation were elected to make decisions,'' Tarlos said. ''If decision makers make bad decisions, they won't be elected the next time and if they are incapable of making decisions, they are unworthy of being elected.''

The proposal for a referendum came after residents of Hamburg rejected the German port city's bid in a vote on Sunday. The vote was 51.6 against, with 48.4 percent in favor.

Hungarian opposition party Egyutt (Together) appealed to Hungarian Olympic Committee president Zsolt Borkai for a referendum.

''We trust he will realize that only a valid and successful national referendum would denote appropriate authority for the Olympic bid,'' said Marton Pataki, the party's Budapest president.

While Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has thrown its full support behind the Budapest bid, critics have cited the possibility of cost overruns and the stress on the city's infrastructure as reasons for concern.

According to Nezopont Intezet, a pro-government research institute, support among Hungarians for hosting the Olympics has risen from 40 percent in August 2014 to 53 percent.

Hamburg's withdrawal left four cities in the race for the 2024 Games. Along with Budapest, the candidates are Paris, Rome and Los Angeles. The IOC will select the host city in 2017.

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