The newly-elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Cypriot MP Stella Kyriakides says she is committed to restoring the assembly’s prestige and credibility.
In an interview with Cyprus News Agency, she described her recent election as a “great honour” for Cyprus, for the House of Representatives, as well as for women, since she is only the third woman to take up the post at the Strasbourg-based human rights organisation.
Kyriakides said Cyprus has been a member of PACE since 1961 and this is the first time a Cypriot has been elected to its highest office. “As a Cypriot I feel proud of my homeland” and this is certainly an important event for women as well, she said.
“So far, all Assembly Presidents were from the big member states,” she said, adding that the responsibility is even greater if one comes from a smaller country.
Kyriakides’ biggest challenge will be to conclude her term by making a positive impact and contributing to efforts to lead the Assembly out of the crisis that has engulfed it in recent months.
The Assembly went through a serious crisis following allegations of corruption made against some of its members.
The President of PACE also expressed full support for the independent external investigation body that was tasked to carry out an inquiry into the allegations. From the very first moment, she said, “I was in favour of this procedure and of the need to achieve full transparency”.
The reason she met with the three members of this independent body shortly after her election was, according to Kyriakides, in order to convey the message that “as the new President, I am dedicated to this effort”.
One of her priorities in the next three months will be to assure that this investigation body carries on with its work. Only through a gradual shift in the culture and mindset regarding transparency issues, will the Assembly regain its credibility and be able to continue with its important human rights work, she said.
“My priority is to bring back consensus, calmness, credibility and unity in the Assembly.”