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Cyprus

Long-awaited limo legislation passes

BY UNANIMOUS vote, the plenum last night approved new regulations governing the use of state cars by public officials.

Under the regulations, the following are entitled to round-the-clock, unlimited use of limos: the President of the Republic, the House Speaker, the president of the Supreme Court, the Attorney-general and deputy AG, the auditor-general, former presidents of the Republic and former House speakers (provided they have served in that office for at least 30 months).

Also entitled to the perk are ministers, the under-secretary to the President, the chief of police, the commander of the National Guard, the head of the secret service, and the spouse of the President of the Republic but only during the same President’s term.

The regulations create a second rung of officials allowed access limos for state business only. These include the spouses of former Presidents, the chief Greek Cypriot negotiator in the peace talks, the head of the Public Service Commission, the ombudsman, and the permanent secretaries at the various ministries.

The regulations introduce a transitional period, expiring on January 1, 2016, at which time a large number of officials – including commissioners, permanent secretaries at ministries, heads of semi-governmental organisations and mayors – will be able to use state cars for official business only.

In remarks on the House floor, AKEL MP Stavros Evagorou likened the ever-changing list of eligible officials to an “accordion,” expanding and contracting depending on the behind-the-scenes lobbying.

Greens MP George Perdikis voiced doubts as to whether the regulations limiting use of state cars would be enforced come January 2016.

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