- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ROME (AP) - The Italian Parliament voted on Tuesday to back Rome’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is a strong supporter of Rome’s candidacy and the Parliament has now thrown its weight behind the bid.

“Today the Italian Parliament adopted, by a large majority, a clear and indisputable position on the candidature of Rome to the Olympic Games of 2024,” read a statement on the bid website. “It is a strong yes, an expression of the popular will, which blows away controversies and gives to the city and the country an important opportunity for economic redemption and the revival of international image.”

The show of support from Parliament is unlikely to quash calls for a public referendum from the small, left-wing movement Radicali Italiani, which cites spiraling costs of recent Olympic Games.

Bid chairman Luca di Montezemolo and Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago have pointed to the nearly unanimous vote in favor of the candidacy by Rome’s city council last year, while an IPSOS poll promoted by the bid committee recently found that three out of four Italians are in favor of the candidacy, out of 2,200 people surveyed.

The German port city of Hamburg dropped out of the 2024 race in November after its bid was defeated in a referendum.

The IOC will select the 2024 host city next year. Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, are the other bidders.

Rome last hosted the Olympics in 1960. It lost out to Athens in the final voting round for the 2004 Games and was forced to withdraw its bid for the 2020 Olympics after the government of then Premier Mario Monti declined to provide financial backing.

“We have the chance to show the world that Italy knows how to achieve its goals and is able, as happened with the 1960 Summer Olympics and more recently with Expo, to host highly successful events in total transparency,” the statement added.

“The Parliament’s vote, is an act of responsibility for the future of the country, that wants to seize major challenges and is confident of achieving them with great effort and, above all, keeping in mind the new generations.”

The candidacy is promoting a cost-conscious plan relying on many of the same venues used in 1960 - like the Foro Italico complex featuring the athletics stadium plus aquatics and tennis arenas.

Montezemolo has announced a bid budget of 24.9 million euros ($27 million) - significantly less than what main rivals Paris and Los Angeles are planning to spend.

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