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Referendum On Oslo 2022 Winter Bid

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Oslo city officials agreed this week to hold a referendum on bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games as part of a budget compromise.

Carl I Hagen, head of the Progress Party's bloc on Oslo City Council, said taxpayers in Oslo should be allowed to vote on bidding for the Olympics. Although referenda are not common in Norway, with most of the major decisions left to elected politicians, Hagen's demand for an Olympic referendum was met to help get the city's budget approved.

City officials have set aside NOK five million to cover the cost of asking Oslo residents whether they really want to host an Olympics in 2022, with all the new construction it will entail. Some say it will provide the incentive Oslo needs to improve public transport, build new sports facilities, and housing. Others are concerned about the debt it may leave, with future use or need for all the Olympic facilities unclear.

The referendum will be held in connection with national elections being held next fall after Oslo City Council is due to officially decide in July whether to apply for the state funding guarantee needed to host the Games.

A general plan for where arenas and athletes' housing will be constructed is due in March. Meanwhile city officials have already approved the millions needed to carry out all the preliminary work needed for a prospective application.

The deadline for host cities applying to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the 2022 Games is March 2014, candidates will be selected in July 2014 and the host city elected July 2015.

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