By Constantinos Psillides
THE extraordinary session scheduled to vote on the insolvency framework was postponed for a second time to noon on Saturday, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said.
With a floor debate underway on Friday afternoon, MPs initially decided to postpone the vote to 8pm, following a suggestion proposed earlier in the day by the leader of ruling DISY party.
DISY, DIKO and EDEK voted in favour of the delay. Main opposition AKEL general secretary Andros Kyprianou had previously requested an adjournment until Monday.
The session was delayed by two hours, while party leaders and representatives tried to reach a consensus on the bill.
State broadcaster CyBC reported that the parties tabled 80 amendments to be included in the insolvency framework.
While the MPs were deliberating, protesters outside started to dwindle having earlier clashed with the police. But they may return for the final vote on the controversial bill.
The protesters tried to remove a barricade preventing them from moving nearer to the building but were pushed back by police. Some people complained they were hit by police.
The force had taken strict security measures ahead of the vote and closed down nearby roads, setting up barricades at a safe distance from the House of Representatives.
Some protesters were holding up signs urging MPs not to pass the bill. Among the 200 present so far, some also brought along a black coffin with the words “It is done” written on the side.
The protesters have also blocked nearby roads, preventing cars from passing through.
“We are outside parliament protesting against the insolvency and foreclosures bill because we find the (deputies) to be traitors and aim to sell our homes, fortunes and the whole of Cyprus,” said Yiannos Ioannou, a leader of the borrowers association.
“We expect the representatives of the people who we voted for to stand up and support the Cypriot people. We ask that they act like patriots and not traitors,” Ioannou said, adding that “instead of the guilty people paying, people are paying to protect banks.”
Some of the protesters chanted “liars, traitors, cheats” and said that “(57) useless people are convening.”
George Ktistis, of the movement against foreclosures said that he was “deeply troubled with what is going on because this is a story that will cause people to lose their jobs and fortunes.”
“They’re handing people to the banks with their hands tied without protection. We want protection,” Ktistis said.
The insolvency legislation – a set of laws governing bankruptcy procedures – have thrown Cyprus’ economic adjustment programme off track since last December, when parliament voted to suspend implementation of tougher foreclosure rules, and subsequently renewed the suspension until April 17.