Hungary has announced it is going to withdraw Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

This leaves only Paris and Los Angeles in the running.

Why did Hungary withdraw?

After Momentum Mozgalom’s so-called NOlimpia petition amassed a quarter of a million signatures demanding a local referendum on Budapest’s Olympic bid last week, Istvan Tarlos, Budapest’s mayor hinted that the offer was off the cards.

“I never insisted on the Olympics,” he told the city council. “There is no point dragging out this process like strudel dough.”

Yesterday, the the Hungarian government issued an official statement.

“For Budapest and Hungary the Olympics is a national issue,” the government said in a resolution published on national news agency MTI.

“In recent months, the earlier unity has broken down and the issue of the Olympics has turned from a national issue into a party issue. Opposition parties are responsible for this, those who backtracked on their earlier decision (to back the bid).”

Momentum spokesman Gergo Papp told Hungarian website that the Hungarian government had backtracked on the bid “in a cowardly manner” instead of holding a referendum on the topic.

In Budapest, 56 percent of voters were against the bid, with only a third supporting it nationally according to a survey published yesterday by pollster Median.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced a series of reforms in 2014 to make hosting the Olympics more attractive to cities worldwide.

One of the key procedural changes was “reducing costs for bidding, by decreasing the number of presentations that are allowed and providing a significant financial contribution from the IOC.”

How is it there are only two cities left in the running?

Despite initiatives to encourage more cities to host the games, Boston, Hamburg and Rome have already pulled out of the race.

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In November 2015, 51.6 percent of people in Hamburg voted against hosting the Olympics in a referendum.

Months earlier, Boston also decided not to go ahead with its Olympic bid, citing mounting political opposition as the reason for the decision.

Fears that hosting the Olympics would plunge the city further into debt forced Rome to withdraw its bid in September 2016.

Only Paris and Los Angeles remain in the race as potential hosts for the 2024 Olympic Games.

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