Cyprus Mail

Lillikas still pushing for a seat at top table

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE ‘CITIZENS Alliance’ wants a seat on the National Council and is willing to forego the right to vote in the body set up to advise the President on the Cyprus problem, said its head, former foreign minister, Giorgos Lillikas yesterday.

Speaking after meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace, Lillikas said the national council wrongly excluded the newly-formed political grouping from a seat at the council last week.

The decision was in contravention of the law passed by parliament defining what a political party is, he argued.

“And the national council cannot place itself above the law of the Republic,” he said.

Lillikas said the new regulations governing the composition and operation of the national council created the impression that the sole aim was “to exclude the Citizens Alliance, not only now but also in the future”.

Failed presidential candidate Lillikas made it clear last month that the Alliance wanted a seat on the council after former EVROKO MP Nicos Koutsou joined their ranks, noting that Koutsou now represents their interests in parliament.

Former DIKO MP, the now independent Zacharias Koulias, is also reportedly a fan, but has held back from publicly joining the Alliance, waiting to see how DIKO MP Nicolas Papadopoulos fares in the DIKO leadership elections at the end of the year.

Last week, the national council chaired by Anastasiades unanimously rejected a request by the Alliance’ to take a seat at the council.

Explaining the decision, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the group did not meet the minimum criteria. In order to be eligible for participation in the body, a political formation must be registered as a party and must have previously run in a parliamentary election and got at least one person elected to parliament.

The body also approved a proposal by Anastasiades that any resolution voted on in the council would be binding on the president if there is a 75 per cent support for it (each party would represent the percentage it received in the last parliamentary election).

Commenting on the decision, Lillikas said yesterday: “For us, and we highlighted this to the president, what’s important is that we participate in the exchange of views, debate and formation of policy on the Cyprus problem.”

Regarding the argument that the Alliance has yet to participate in elections and so does not have a clearly defined constituency, he said: “We clarified to the president that if that is the problem, the Citizens Alliance does not want and is not interested in participating in any possible vote in the national council.”

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