Crisis talks for Oslo's 2022 Winter Olympics bid
STOCKHOLM -- Norway's Olympic Committee is assessing ways to salvage Oslo's ailing bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics after one of the two parties in the coalition government came out against it.
The committee was to discuss the precarious situation at an extraordinary meeting on Monday, spokesman Martin Hafsahl said.
The bid is in doubt after the right-wing Progress Party on Sunday voted against providing financial guarantees for the games, saying the money could be better spent on infrastructure, education, health-care and other issues.
That means the bid can only go ahead if the larger coalition partner, the Conservatives, decides to support it with backing from the left-wing opposition in Parliament, which would be politically awkward.
Prime Minister and Conservative leader Erna Solberg said Monday it's too early to decide how to proceed.
"We first need to agree with the City of Oslo on the costs and how to divide them. After that we will contact parties in Parliament," she told Norwegian news agency NTB. "An Olympics is a big party but it's also associated with big costs. We must therefore get the numbers on the table so that we know what we are dealing with."
Oslo's bid is not the only one in trouble. Lviv's candidacy is in limbo because of the crisis in Ukraine, while Krakow's bid is suffering from sagging public support in Poland ahead of a May 25 referendum.
Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, are also in the running to host the 2022 Winter Games.
Norwegian Olympic Committee President Boerre Rognlien said the decision by the Progress Party had left Oslo's bid in a "complex situation" but added he wants to press ahead regardless.
"We didn't seek government guarantees from the Progress Party but from all of Norwegian politics," Rognlien said in a statement, noting that Parliament has the final say.
The International Olympic Committee executive board will select a shortlist of finalists at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, in July. The host city will be chosen by the full IOC on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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