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Disy disquiet over House move on Solidarity’s vacant seat

Solidarity's Eleni Theocharous criticised the government for praising 'the tiniest traces or nuggets that could be considered to favour our side'

Ruling Disy on Monday censured House president Demetris Syllouris over a bill that would see the Solidarity Party keep a seat that the supreme court said should be vacated following an appeal.

“It is really disappointing for the House president himself to recommend legalising practices to defraud the electorate,” Disy MP Nicos Nouris said.

Following last May’s legislative election, in which Solidarity Party leader Eleni Theocharous was elected to parliament in Limassol, she waived the seat and opted to keep the place in the European parliament she had won when she was still with Disy.

Her seat in the House went to the party’s next in line, Giorgos Papadopoulos, who received only 767 votes.

This would have been in line with the election law’s provisions, had it taken place after Theocharous’ swearing-in.

There is no legal provision for the replacement of MPs elected into office but declining the seat before the parliamentary term started.

The supreme court, which had heard a legal challenge by Disy candidate for parliament Andreas Michaelides against the handling of the matter, ruled that existing law did not justify passing the seat to the runner-up, but did not opine on how it should be handled.

Disy argues that approving the proposal would be a constitutional and political deviation since it would allow parties to include any personality they wanted in a hunt for votes, and then pass on the seats to the runners-up.

Nouris also slammed the selective retroactive nature of the proposal because it only applied to the latest parliamentary election but not the 2014 European elections.

“Unfortunately, the law proposal tackles the problem selectively and raises huge questions of political ethics, (and) constitutional and moral order,” Nouris said.

However, the rest of the parties, including main opposition Akel, do not seem to share Disy’s positions and the proposal appears to be headed for approval this Friday.

Syllouris, who was elected with Solidarity, said his proposal served the philosophy of the Republic’s electoral system.

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