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Insolvency debate will go ahead on April 17 (Updated)

Insolvency debate will go ahead on April 17

Next week’s plenary session of the House of Representatives, that will discuss and vote on the burning issues of whether to lift the suspension of implementation of tougher foreclosure rules, as well as a new insolvency framework, has been finalised for Friday, April 17, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Thursday.

The date of the session had been the bone of contention between the government, which wants both bills passed, and opposition parties over the last couple of days, because an unofficial headcount of the 56 deputies revealed a dead heat, with 28 votes on each side of the aisle.

With President Anastasiades scheduled to visit Greece on Friday, however, the issue of whether House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou, one of those opposing the bills, would be allowed to attend the plenum came up, since he would be replacing Anastasiades as acting President.

But in any case, calling a plenary session and setting its agenda is the sole prerogative of the House Speaker, which means that Omirou could have set a different date if he wished.

Some believed this to have been a ploy by the government in order to shift the balance in their favour by removing one opposing vote, prompting Anastasiades to deem such talk “conspiracy theories”. As it turned out, acting President or not, there was nothing barring Omirou from attending the House session and casting his vote.

According to director of the House of Representatives Vasiliki Anastasiadou, there is a past legal opinion that confirms no constitutional issue.

“The fact that the House Speaker did not chair plenary sessions while serving as acting President has been parliamentary practice,” she told the Cyprus News Agency.

EDEK, the party that raised protests over the plenum date, issued a statement on Thursday, saying it was ready to vote in favour of the insolvency bills if the government offered assurances that no loan by Cypriots would be purchased by Turkish companies.

“For EDEK, Cyprus is not for sale,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, communist AKEL also issued a statement, accusing Anastasiades of interfering with parliamentary functions.

“AKEL has not been party to any conspiracy theories, and as such we do not think the President’s remarks relate to us in any way,” press spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said.

“At the same time, what does relate to us and we would like to comment on, is the President’s interference with parliamentary procedure, which will not be tolerated.”

“With all due respect, the President cannot, and should not, issue admonitions and urges as to how the House will decide on this and other issues.”

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