By Constantinos Pitsilides
PROVIDING some state officials with a limousine or executive service car is an acquired right and the parliament can’t take that away from them, said DIKO MP Angelos Votsis, adding that there has been some progress on the subject and that this privilege will be reduced to fewer people.
Votsis, who is the deputy head of the house finance committee, is taking a legislation amendment for a vote at today’s plenary session of parliament, to limit the number of state officials who are entitled to a luxury car.
He is confident that the amendment will pass and said that this is only the first step. Speaking to the press, Votsis said that he hopes this solution will tolerated by the public.
According to the proposal, the state officials who are entitled to a luxury car are: the president of the Republic and the House president, the attorney general and the assistant attorney general, the chief negotiator for the Cyprus problem, ministers, ministry undersecretaries (if they are appointed), the auditor general, the accountant general, ministry permanent secretaries, supreme court judges, the house permanent secretary and all former Republic and House presidents.
Former president Dimitris Christofias has publicly declined the privilege to a luxury car.
Asked by the Cyprus Mail why anyone else besides the current presidents of the republic and house should be given a limo, Votsis said that the committee asked the attorney’s general office for a consult and they were told that the luxury car was an acquired right and as such could not be taken away.
Votsis explained that the right for a luxury car was revoked for mayors and the general managers of semi government organisations.
The amendment also limits the provided car’s engine size to 2,000cc, in an attempt to lower the cost.
The debate on limos started in late May, a few months after Christofias’ administration had stepped down amid resentment over his handling of the economy. There was an amount of €43,000 earmarked for a new car for Christofias, who as a former head of state was entitled to a departing limo. The Greens party announced it was protesting outside parliament and submitting a draft bill to amend the 1988 law which they said was an “economic, political and environmental scandal”.