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Syllouris elected House President (Updated)

House President Demetris Syllouris (Christos Theodoirdes)

Demetris Syllouris was on Thursday elected new House Speaker with the support of ruling DISY.

Syllouris, of the Solidarity Movement, and formerly leader of the EVROKO party, mustered 21 ‘ayes’ in the third and crucial show of hands, where the candidate with the most votes won.

His candidacy was backed by all of DISY’s 18 MPs, in addition to Syllouris’ Solidarity Movement which counts three deputies.

The other contenders received, respectively: Averof Neophytou, DISY, 18; Andros Kyprianou, AKEL, 16 votes; Marinos Sizopoulos, EDEK, 17; and Giorgos Perdikis, Green party, 2.

MPs were allowed to raise their hand twice during any voting round, meaning that in the third round DISY’s MPs voted both for Syllouris, clinching the nomination, and then symbolically voted for their own man, Neophytou.

On taking his seat as House Speaker for the first time, Syllouris made a brief statement before striking the gavel and dismissing the session.

“I shall not embark on a long speech, in line with the message of the times: we need less talk and more action,” he said in a room packed with politicians, their relatives and members of the press.

According to the procedure, to win, a candidate must garner more than 50 per cent of the vote. If they fail, a second round is held with the winner needing two-fifths of the vote.

If again there is no winner, a third round is held with the person who gets the most votes winning the seat.

As expected, the contest went down to the wire, with the first two rounds producing an identical outcome and drawing chuckles from observers.

In the first two votes, Neophytou got 18 votes, Kyprianou 16, Sizopoulos 15, and Syllouris came last with just three.

The scores reflected exactly the parties’ respective numbers in the House, save for Sizopoulos, who was backed by his own party EDEK (three MPs) but also by DIKO (nine MPs) and the Citizens Alliance (three MPs).

Prior to the third and crunch vote, Neophytou requested and was granted a 20-minute recess in order that DISY MPs confer with his party’s Political Bureau.

During the intermission, DISY made the decision to back Syllouris.

But even before the break, Syllouris was observed typing something up on his laptop – perhaps his speech.

In the final show of hands, EDEK leader Sizopoulos additionally got the support of the Greens’ two MPs, garnering 17 votes, but the game was already up as Syllouris outnumbered him by four.

Nationalist party ELAM, who entered parliament for the first time in the May 22 legislative elections, were present but did not raise their hand once for any candidate.

The swearing-in of the MPs, just prior to the election of the new House Speaker, had been delayed for about 15 minutes because DISY deputy Solon Kassinis was not present.

As for the Cypriot public, most likely they were not watching the election proceedings with bated breath. In a poll published on Thursday by daily Simerini, most respondents (23 per cent) felt that none of the contenders were suitable for the position of House Speaker.

AKEL’s Kyprianou garnered just 19 per cent in the survey as deserving the post, followed by Syllouris with 14 per cent, Neophytou with 11 per cent, Sizopoulos 8 per cent, Perdikis 7 per cent, and Giorgos Lillikas at the bottom of the heap with 2 per cent.

The House plenum next convenes on Thursday June 9, where the first order of business will be among others the announcement of the composition of the parliamentary committees.

 

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