Politics 05/04/2022

Government calls two votes on Winter Olympics for July 24

The first, held in the region of Alt Pirineu and Aran, will be binding; the second, in Berguedà, Solsonès and Ripollès, will not

3 min
The ministers of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, and Foreign Affairs, Victòria Alsina, at a press conference at the Palau de la Generalitat

BarcelonaGeneralitat president Pere Aragonès signed an agreement this Monday to formally initiate the countdown for the consultation on the Winter Olympic Games. There will be, in fact, two consultations that have finally been announced for next July 24. The first, held in the six counties that make up the vegueria of Alt Pirineu and Aran, will be binding. This is the area where the events will be held and, according to the Generalitat's original plan, the only one that would be consulted. "Should the Government present a candidacy to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games?", will be the question. The second consultation will be held on the same day in Ripollès, Solsonès and Berguedà. and will ask the following question: "Should your county be involved in the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games project?". The result of this vote will not be binding with regards to the candidacy itself, but it will be binding with regards to the construction of training centres prior to the games. The decree that will initiate the organisation of the consultation will be signed at the end of May.

The ministers of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, and of Foreign Affairs, Victòria Alsina, appeared at a press conference to announce the two consultations and to advance some technical details, for example, on who will be able to vote. To avoid the restrictions imposed by the Constitutional Court on the non-referendary consultations, the executive proposes that all over-16s who can prove at least one year of continuous residence in the region be able to vote. Some 55,000 people in the Alt Pirineu and Aran will therefore have the last word on the Olympic bid. In Solsonès, Berguedà and Ripollès some 63,000 people could participate in their consultation. Consulting Barcelona has been ruled out, even if it is to host the ice hockey, because, according to Vilagrà, the Olympic Games would not have a major impact on a city accustomed to major sporting events.

Idescat will draw up a register of participants (it will not be called an electoral role precisely because of the problems it may entail) and it will not be possible to vote online or by mail. There will be 121 polling stations enabled in the Alt Pirineu and Aran and 137 in the other three counties. The votes will be counted jointly for Alt Pirineu and Aran (therefore, not by counties or towns) and separately in the case of Solsonès, Ripollès and Berguedà. The Government has decided against a minimum turnout threshold.

The organisation of the consultation will cost €1.1m without counting the promotion campaign the Generalitat will carry out. The government will also create a control commission on the consultation and its legal services will prepare for any possible legal challenges.

Problems with Aragón

The name of the candidacy has not yet been agreed. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Barcelona will join the bid and whether Catalonia will share the limelight with Aragón. The Aragonese president, Javier Lambán, refused to sign the technical proposal backed by the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) last week and the final agreement between governments is still up in the air. Vilagrà explained that they have not had contact again with Lambán, but they have had contact with the president of the COE, Alejandro Blanco, whom she telephoned this Monday morning to explain that she would make the terms of the consultation public. The COE was against the consultation asking a yes or no question on hosting the Games, as it will finally do. The government also informed the CUP, En Comú, the mayors of the towns affected and the leaders of county councils where the consultation will be held.

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