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Hasicos urges Disy, Akel to pass local authority reforms

Interior Minister Socratis Hasicos appeared fed up on Friday over what he suggested were deliberate delays in passing local authority reforms, as he urged arch rivals Disy and Akel to come to an agreement and push relevant legislation through parliament.

The minister said the reforms were being discussed for the past three years under the current administration, and probably a decade before that.

But “when we come to the brink of the vote, various people cite the same things, ‘we are not ready,’” the minister said.

He added that the could not wait for everyone to agree 100 per cent because it would never happen.

There was also another excuse raised by MPs who were elected last May. They claim that they have not read the bills because they were new.

“When will we be ready? I say never with this mentality,” Hasicos said.

He said as long as taxpayers paid without complaining nothing would be done.

“I am tired to be honest, I’ve done whatever I could, the government too,” he said. “We made concessions that we shouldn’t have done” for the sake of passing the bills. “Unfortunately some people are not ready. When will they be?”

On Thursday, the government withdrew a bill to postpone local elections in a bid to pass and implement the reforms. Hasicos then tabled the idea of halving the five-year term, but that too wasn’t met positively.

On Friday, the ministry proclaimed the elections, putting in motion the procedures for December’s polls.

Hasicos blamed the so-called centrist parties for the delays, and not because they necessarily disagreed with the reforms.

He told Politis radio that after so many years ruling Disy and Akel, though different in ideology, were very close as regards local authority reform.

“But there are some other sides in parliament, like Diko, Edek, etc, where it is chaos. They just won’t vote … Diko will never consent, nor on the Cyprus problem, nothing,” Hasicos said.

The minister urged Disy and Akel to place the common good above everything else.

He warned Akel to stop refusing to vote on the side of Disy because things at local authorities were bound to get worse.

“Because really, the situation with the municipalities’ finances is depressing,” he said.

Even this late in the game, a way to approve the bill can be found if Akel and Disy sit down and talk, he said.

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