Two thirds against Kraków 2022 Olympic bid, referendum exit poll shows
Sunday, 25 May 2014
Exit polling suggests two thirds of people in Kraków voted against the Polish city staging the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in a referendum today.
The referendum was held alongside the continent-wide European elections, and asked a simple yes/no question on the bid.
Results from the exit poll, conducted jointly by Gazeta Kraków - the largest regional daily newspaper in the city - and Official Polish, put those who said "no" at 67.6 per cent.
If that is reflected in the official result, and provided turnout is above 30 per cent, it would spell the end of Kraków's bid for the Games.
The exit poll asked 1,050 people how they had voted.
Mayor of Kraków Jacek Majchrowski called the referendum in March, saying he wanted the population to approve the bid.
"Surveys carried out a few months ago showed that there is support for the idea [hosting the 2022 Winter Games]," he said at the time.
"But in such an important matter, that's not enough, which is why I am calling on the City Council to hold a referendum."
Kraków follows in the footsteps of fellow Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid city Oslo, which in September held a referendum on its bid.
It was narrowly backed by residents of the Norwegian capital with 55.1 per cent - 172,837 votes - supporting the bid, against 44.9 per cent - 140,982 - opposing the idea.
As well as the question on the 2022 bid, the Kraków referendum also asked residents three others: whether to build more bicycle roads, whether to build a metro train line, and whether to install more vision cameras around the city.
A spokesman for the bid last month said they are "confident" of gaining public support.
But the bid has been hit by trouble.
Bid Committee President Jagna Marczułajtis-Walczak resigned last month because of a "smear campaign" over allegations her husband offered to pay journalists to write positive stories about the bid.
She was replaced by Magdalena Sroka, the city's Deputy Mayor.
Then at the beginning of this month, a national survey found 58 per cent of respondents across Poland oppose Kraków's bid.
But today's referendum was only open to city residents.
A 30 per cent turnout is needed for the result to be valid, which is made more likely by it being held on the same day as the European elections.
But turnout in the 2009 European elections in Poland was just 24.5 per cent, the third lowest ahead of only Lithuania and Slovakia.
Proposed 2022 bids from from the German city of Munich and Davos/St Moritz in Switzerland both lost support in public votes last year.
If Kraków does win its bid, it will host Alpine skiing events across the border in Slovakia.
As well as Kraków and Oslo, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Beijing in China and Lviv in Ukraine are also bidding for the 2022 Games.
Sweden's capital Stockholm pulled out of the race in January because of the potential cost of building new facilities.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board meet in Lausanne on July 8 and 9, where the decision will be made on which cities are put forward to the Candidature phase of the contest.
Visits to the cities will then be carried out by the IOC Evaluation Commission, before a final decision is made at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 31 2015.
The results of the referendum are not expected until tomorrow.
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