Cyprus Mail

Local authority reform on hold

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos

LOCAL authority reform will have to wait until parliament reconvenes after May’s elections because MPs do not have time to discuss and vote on revised legislation in the short time before dissolution.

The development also prompted ruling DISY to withdraw a proposal to postpone municipal elections, scheduled for December, to allow officials involved in planning local authority reform to take part in its implementation.

House Interior Committee chairman, AKEL MP, Yiannos Lamaris, said it was their intention to continue discussion of local authority reform in two successive sessions – Wednesday and Thursday – but revised bills were only handed over to MPs on Wednesday morning, after arriving in parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

After studying the legislation, it emerged that a lot of work was needed so the committee decided not to discuss the matter under the pressure.

Parliament is scheduled to dissolve on April 14 ahead of the May 22 elections.

Lamaris sought to make clear that the decision did not mean the committee was against reform, which was essential.

DISY MP Nicos Nouris echoed Lamaris in stressing that the decision did not mean the matter had been shelved.

He said the government could use the time between now and the opening of parliament to consult with all those involved.

In light of the development, his party will not submit a proposal to postpone the municipal elections later this year, Nouris said.

Following the decision, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos tweeted his disappointment: “Shame. What else must local authorities suffer for parliament to understand.”

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