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Lillikas wants mechanism to remove public officials by popular demand

Giorgos Lillikas

A legislative proposal for the removal of elected officials from their posts by voters under certain conditions was tabled by Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas on Friday.

The bill will apply to elected officials only, including the President of the Republic, deputies, mayors, and mukhtars, if they are found to have reneged on commitments they undertook on the campaign trail.

The proposal, the party said, aim to make the removal of elected officials by popular demand possible, thus strengthening the people’s participation in government and helping keep elected state officials in accountable.

“With this law, politicians elected to public office can be held accountable throughout their term,” Lillikas said in a statement.

“Voters reclaim power, which emanates from them, and a real opportunity to evaluate elected officials. This way, the principle of participatory democracy becomes meaningful.”

The aim, he added, is for candidates’ campaign programme to become a true social contract, any breach of which can result in the official losing his post.

“It is noted that such removal by popular demand legislation is in force in various European countries,” Lillikas’ statement said.

This is not the first time the Citizens’ Alliance leader proposed the measure.

Lillikas used the proposal as his opening salvo in his bid for the 2013 presidential election, in which he would go on to be eliminated in the first round.

At the time, the proposal was deemed by critics a “populist move” that existed “nowhere but [Hugo] Chavez’s Venezuela”.

It came up again just prior to last May’s legislative elections, when the Citizens’ Alliance announced 10 proposals it pledged to submit to parliament “within one year” of the May elections, or else its MPs would resign parliament.

Others were cross-voting, the automatic registration of 18-year-old’s to the voting registry, the public display of legislative proposals for one month for public scrutiny and comments, the introduction of requirement for “very serious matters” to be put to referenda, the linking of deputies’ compensation with parliamentary attendance, regulating banks’ loan charges, banning partisan recommendation lists for appointments to semi-state organisations, and two-term limits for public office.

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