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Our View: AKEL foreclosures bill astonishing and could lead to financial collapse

AKEL's leader Andros Kyprianou

IT IS ASTONISHING, after everything that has happened in the last few months, AKEL tabled a bill with the sole purpose of suspending the implementation of the foreclosures law until June 2015. The bill was tabled on Monday on the pretext of protecting ‘small’ debtors until there was ‘a safety-net in place’.

The party has disingenuously argued that the bill was necessary to protect primary residences and small to medium businesses under threat from the banks. However, if this bill is approved it would also protect all the big businesses that owe millions as the law that would have allowed the banks to recover some of their money would not be in force.

Perhaps this is the intention of the communists, because at present it is the big companies that are being pressured by the banks to repay their loans and not the primary residence owners. Although the banks have repeatedly said their priority was the big debtors and that they would not be going after people’s homes, AKEL claims they could not be trusted.

Of course populist parties can be trusted even less than the bankers. In effect, AKEL has prepared a bill which, if approved, would derail the adjustment programme, cause the government to default on its payments and take the economy back to where it was in March 2013 when its president stepped down. These would be the effects of the suspension of the foreclosures law but AKEL is too dishonest to mention this.

Nor could it claim that it was unaware of the consequences because the Eurogroup and the troika have made it abundantly clear that without the foreclosures law there would be no financial assistance. The party, together with EDEK and the Greens, which have backed the bill, would be knowingly plunging the country deeper into recession. Unless the intention is just to fool people, the parties aware that the bill would be referred to the Supreme Court which would rule it unconstitutional as it had done last week, in the case of other legislature-approved bills, suspending implementation of the foreclosures law.

Perhaps the intention is to cause problems for finance minister Haris Georgiades who will tomorrow attend the Eurogroup meeting that is set approve the next tranche of financial assistance. The meeting could decide not to release the money on the grounds that implementation of the foreclosures law remained in the balance. The government coped with a two-month delay – the €450 million would have been given in early September – but it could run out of cash if it has to wait another two months for the Eurogroup to be convinced that the silly games of our irresponsible parties were finally over.

All this could be avoided if DIKO acted responsibly and stated publicly that it would not back AKEL’s bill. This may be too much to ask of a party that had led the paranoid campaign against the foreclosures law, but it is our only hope.

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