It would be difficult for parliament to appeal a government decision to issue a decree allowing shops to remain open on Sundays, it emerged on Thursday.
This was the view of lawyer Andreas Angelides who was asked by parliament to look into the possibility.
The reason is that it would take a long time for the Supreme Court to consider the appeal. And it was judged that the president’s referral to the Supreme Court of a related bill would be tried sooner. The court will hear the president’s referral on June 3.
“Based on the facts we have before us it is very difficult to appeal because it would take a long time, based on Article 139 (of the constitution), which relates to conflict of powers,” AKEL MP Andreas Fakondis said.
Opposition parties were also advised that the fact that the decision to appeal was not unanimous – ruling DISY opposed it – could also play a role should the case go to court.
The decree, which expires on November 30, was issued by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou on May 13.
It came 24 hours before the minister’s right to issue such orders expired, following a decision by parliament.
Opposition parties said the minister had no right to issue a decree and they asked House President Yiannakis Omirou to explore the possibility of filing an appeal with the Supreme Court against the decision.
“We judge that current decrees upset the labour market and create unfair competition between businesses, which is not acceptable,” Fakondis said.
Opposition parties were also irked by President Nicos Anastasiades’ decision to refer to the Supreme Court a bill they passed banning general stores – such as malls and supermarkets – from opening on Sundays.
The government decided to send the law to the Supreme Court, arguing that it included provisions that were unconstitutional. A ruling in parliament’s favour would also annul the minister’s decree.
Green party MP Giorgos Perdikis said it would have been preferable for the president to refer the law to parliament instead of the Supreme Court.
“Because I think getting into legal battles would protract this clash and there will not be calm in the market,” Perdikis said.
Parties passed the law ignoring calls from businesses that it would lead to layoffs of people hired to work Sundays.
Opposition parties accused the government of serving the interests of a handful of large businesses but they in turn have been accused of serving the interests of other professional groups like convenience stores and bakers.