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Cyprus

Plenum rejects president’s bill referral  (updated)

By Angelos Anastasiou

An extraordinary plenary session of parliament on Friday rejected President Nicos Anastasiades’ veto of a bill rendering preliminary views of the Town-Planning department on new projects binding, as well as one exempting homeowners whose properties have been mortgaged by since-defaulted land developers from new foreclosure legislation.

The Town-Planning bill rejection was voted by 39 deputies from across the aisles, with only the Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis and independent Zacharias Koulias opposing it.

Despite arguments by Interior minister Socratis Hasikos on Thursday that the house bill would create problems for the Town-Planning Department and that the government would forward a bill regulating the issue next year, DISY opted to reject the President’s veto.

DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou said that allowing an investor to have firm commitments reduces uncertainty and is an important tool for attracting investments.

“We will reject the veto,” he said.

The rejection of the bill suspending implementation of foreclosure rules on ‘trapped’ homeowners until year-end was unanimous. The vetoed bill was replaced by a new amendment, suspending implementation until September 4, one day after the House is slated to vote for the bill regulating the issue. The amendment was voted by a majority of 32 votes – by DISY, DIKO, EDEK, the Citizens’ Alliance, the Greens, and Koulias – to 19 – comprising the deputies of AKEL and EVROKO.

As announced on Thursday, an extraordinary plenary session has been called for September 3 in order to vote on the bill and regulations resolving the issue, following a Troika demand.

DISY MP Prodromos Prodromou said the object is for a just solution to be found.

“The aim is for people to have what they rightfully own, which they are not allowed yet due to weaknesses in our administrative system,” he said.

AKEL MP Yiorgos Loucaides said the government bill to voted on September 3 does not adequately protect every category of trapped homeowner.

“The Interior minister clarified that the Troika’s ‘prior action’ does not relate to the exemption, but the government bill,” he said.

“There is no reason to shift the date.”

The Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis concurred with AKEL’s arguments, but said he agreed with the proposed procedure.

EDEK deputy Nicos Nicolaides said the party is prepared to give the government a chance, despite its delay in tabling the bill.

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