Paphos mayor Savvas has decided to extend his absence from municipal affairs, pending a police investigation into allegations of misconduct.
The embattled mayor had initially said he would stay away from his duties until November 10, without ruling out an extension. Due to the tense climate and the fact that the police investigation had not yet been completed, Vergas said he decided to extend his absence. No return date was given.
“My intention was, and continues to be, to diffuse the tense climate, fully resolve the cases, and restore calm in the local society,” Vergas said in a statement.
Vergas has been charged in connection with threatening messages sent to witnesses in a suspicious land zoning case involving prominent Paphos developer Theodoros Aristodemou and is also under investigation for potential irregularities concerning the construction of the town’s sewerage system.
Police are also looking into his role in a concert organised by a company controlled by a close associate who got a tax break from the municipality.
Vergas said he never abandoned a fight, especially when feeling so strongly that an injustice was done.
The mayor has so far showed no intention of resigning though it cannot be said that he has been put under any sort of political pressure.
Socialists EDEK became the first big party on Thursday to demand his resignation, around a month after the scandal, dubbed vergasgate on social networks, broke.
The parties that were so quick to ask the Central Bank governor to resign last week – DISY, DIKO (Vergas’ party) and AKEL – have remained silent despite the ridicule directed against them.
EDEK said people’s trust in the authority has declined dramatically “while its status and credibility have been hurt.”
“Public interest dictates that Mr. Savvas Vergas resigns and procedures initiated for the election of a new mayor,” EDEK said. “This would be a positive contribution on Mr. Vergas’ behalf towards restoring normalcy in the Paphos municipality and for people’s trust to be re-established.”