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Cyprus

AKEL seeks middle ground on election threshold

By George Psyllides

Main opposition AKEL agrees that the electoral threshold for entry into parliament must be raised but considers the 5 per cent limit proposed by ruling DISY excessive, it said.

The party’s central committee discussed the issue on Saturday and decided to authorise the political bureau to carry out consultations in a bid to achieve a broader consensus on a lower threshold than the one proposed by DISY.

The committee, according to party member Stephanos Stephanou, agreed that changes must be made to improve the functioning of parliament.

“Towards this end, AKEL has prepared, and will submit to the parties, a comprehensive proposal to improve the regulation that governs the operation of parliament,” Stephanou said.

The party said raising the threshold from the current 1.79 per cent was necessary to tackle the problems but at the same time it considers DISY’s proposal as excessive.

DISY’s proposal was tabled some 10 days ago, prompting the reaction of smaller parties, which could be shut out of parliament if it goes through.

Having AKEL on board would mean certain approval of the proposal since together, the two parties have 39 MPs – DISY 20 – in the 56-seat parliament.

The fiercest reaction came from the Green Party that will certainly be excluded if its support does not increase significantly until the May 2016 election.

The party received 2.2 per cent of the vote in the previous election almost five years ago.

“DISY and possibly AKEL, with which they appear to be in backstage collusion, do not have democratic arguments to support their plan for the annihilation of small parties,” Green Party chairman Giorgos Perdikis said. “They will not hide their very real intentions with lies. They want to steal votes, steal seats, steal funds.”

The latter was probably referring to another proposal by the two big parties that the first 15 per cent of the state grant be distributed equally among parties and the rest doled out according to their strength in the last legislative elections.

This would see a larger piece of the state grant – 85 per cent – allotted according to party strength; currently, the party-strength allocation is 78 per cent.

The 85-15 distribution would apply both to the fixed annual grant, as well as to the extraordinary funds given to parties to help with election-campaign spending.

 

 

 

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