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DISY to propose half term for mayors in this year’s municipal elections

Averof Neophytou

Ruling DISY is preparing a legislative proposal to cut the term of office in municipal councils from five years to two and a half years in the next election in December this year, party leader Averof Neophytou was quoted as saying on Sunday.

In March this year, DISY proposed postponing the municipal elections and holding them at the same time with European Parliament elections in 2019.

The party said this would allow officials involved in planning local authority reform to take part in its implementation, and at the same time limit the frequency of elections. Cypriots just went to the polls last month to elect a new parliament and presidential elections are due to take place in 2018.

In an interview with Phileleftheros on Sunday, Neophytou said the new proposal will provide for a half term – until June 2019 – for mayors and municipal councils, an idea that is unlikely to go down well in municipal circles.

“In these two and a half years, which will be a transitional period, we can accomplish the reform of local government,” he was quoted as saying. It would also align municipal elections with the European Parliament ballot.

“We have two priorities. One is for local government reform, the second is that we are a country that holds the most national elections than any other country in Europe. We have parliamentary elections, and after local government, then after that presidential elections,” Neophytou said.

“Based on current data we are preparing a bill, which will be discussed at the politburo and with local authorities so that the term of those elected in December will be two and a half years.”

He said if the proposal was passed by the House, then those who will be elected in 2016 will be for a term of two and a half years, and those who will be elected in June 2019 and beyond would serve normally for five years.

The island’s constitution prohibits the postponement of parliamentary elections but no similar provisions existed regarding local authorities.

Currently, there are 30 municipalities in the Republic and experts have suggested cutting their number would help alleviate the financial woes most were facing.

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