Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

‘House has no authority to interfere in executive’s power to administer state property’ 

Two bills passed by parliament last year – on denationalisations and the judiciary – were judged unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, it was announced on Tuesday.

The court said both bills were found to be in violation of the separation of powers.

The bills were among a batch passed by parliament in April 2016, before dissolving ahead of elections in December.

They were promptly referred to the supreme court by the president on the grounds that they were unconstitutional.

The government camp had criticised opposition parties for pushing through ‘populist’ laws, in a vote-grabbing bid just before the legislative elections.

The opposition countered that several of the contentious bills were drafted by the government and submitted at the last moment, leaving MPs little time to review them properly.

Tuesday’s bills came to be added on several others judged unconstitutional in March.

One aimed at preventing state officials from having any conflicts of interest had been deemed constitutional in April.

One of Tuesday’s bills froze denationalisation of the telecoms company, CyTA, until the end of the year. The other one concerned judges’ capital statements and the manner they would be audited.

For the latter, the supreme court said the bill essentially took away its right of selecting the manner in which the information could be submitted since it defined in detail the type of statement and its contents.

It also regulated the manner in which the statements would be audited – by outside auditors, the supreme court said, “further eroding the principle of separation of powers and harming the independence of the judiciary.”

On the denationalisation bill, the court said it failed because the authority to administer public property was “exclusively afforded to the cabinet.”

“Consequently, parliament had no authority, according to the constitution, to interfere with the cabinet’s power to administer the property belonging to the Republic, passing a law that annul executive decrees issued by the cabinet in accordance with the constitution and current legislation.”

 

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