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Cyprus

Foreclosures debate hits new snag

By George Psyllides

Opposition parties were looking to suspend enforcement of the foreclosures law anew after parliament did not finish discussion of four bills that are part of the insolvency framework, seen as a safety net for crisis-stricken vulnerable groups.

“Unfortunately, despite the great effort of government officials and members of the finance committee, it was not possible to examine the four bills,” chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said.

Discussion will continue on Monday, he added.

Papadopoulos said various matters remained outstanding, and there were also legal issues concerning the bills.

These will be examined on Thursday and the parties will decide how to proceed.

It was hoped that the bills would be put to the vote on Thursday thus paving the way for Papadopoulos’ DIKO to back ruling DISY party’s proposal to exempt primary residences from foreclosure instead of suspending implementation of the law until the beginning of March – a move that prompted the suspension of the island’s bailout programme.

“For us, the necessary condition is for the bills we have before us to be approved before we discuss any other proposal, including DISY’s,” Papadopoulos said.

DISY spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said his party’s proposal to exempt primary residences until the end of March could be approved irrespective of when the four bills would be ready.

“The soonest possible is in the interest of the country and the economy,” Prodromou said.

EDEK insisted that parliament could not leave people unprotected. MP Nicos Nicolaides said the party intended to propose further suspension of the law.

A blanket suspension on new, tougher foreclosure legislation was voted by opposition parties in mid-December 2014, and renewed in January until March 2.

The President refused to sign off on the latest suspension law and sent it back to parliament, which last week stuck to its guns and upheld it.

Technically, however, the suspension law is not in effect, as it has not been published in the government gazette.

Therefore, whereas the foreclosures legislation does hold, it is currently unenforceable – because the applicable ordinances have yet to be passed.

The foreclosures law was passed as far back as September 2014, but has not been enforced since because of the entanglements between the government and the opposition, which controls the House.

 



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