July 5, 2005

How the voting works

By Ossian Shine

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Fifty votes will be enough to securethe hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games when the first ballot istaken Wednesday at the International Olympic Committee (IOC)session.

London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris have beenscrapping in Singapore over every single vote in the most hotlycontested bidding war in Olympic history.

Wednesday, all five candidate cities will be put out oftheir misery. One will have landed the Games.

Of the 116 members of the International Olympic Committee,only 99 will take part in the secret, electronic ballot inround one.

A vote in favor of a city is cast electronically. In eachround, each participating IOC member may vote for only onecity.

A simple majority -- in this case 50 -- would be enough toend the race immediately.

If, after the first round of voting, no city obtains theabsolute majority of the votes cast, as many rounds are held asnecessary for a city to obtain a majority.

The city receiving the least number of votes is eliminatedafter each round, its name is made public straight away and thevote continues with a further round.

If only two cities remain in contention, the one whichpolls most votes is elected host city.

IOC members from countries putting forward a candidatecannot participate in the vote while their city remains incontention.

France has three IOC members, Jean-Claude Killy, HenriSerandour and the absent Guy Drut. There are three members fromthe United States, Anita DeFrantz, James Easton and RobertCtvrtlik.

Russia also has three -- Vitaly Smirnov, Shamil Tarpischevand Alexander Popov -- as does Britain with Princess Anne,Craig Reedie and Phil Craven.

Spain's two IOC members, the Infanta Dona Pilar de Borbonand Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, are also unable to vote whileMadrid remains in the hunt.

Once a city is eliminated, members from that country areable to vote so the number needed to win selection willincrease with each round of voting.

Traditionally, the IOC president does not vote though hewould be expected to provide the casting vote in the event of afinal tie.

Apart from Drut, one other IOC member is absent fromSingapore -- Nikos Filaretos of Greece -- and another, IvanSlavkov of Bulgaria, is deprived of his voting rights.