The location of the new parliament building should be in the centre of Nicosia, the capital’s mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said on Monday as political quarters jockeyed for influence.
In a statement, Yiorkadjis said the new parliament building – construction on which was slated to begin later this year – should remain within the boundaries of Nicosia municipality.
“In all countries of the world, the buildings housing and symbolising the three distinct powers of the democratic, executive, legislative and judicial powers are located in the capital.”
He added: “If the specific area chosen for the construction of the new building of the parliament is not available due to the discovery of antiquities, there are many unused state plots in the centre of the city in which it could be located.”
Yiorkadjis was referring to Pasydy hill, the site where initially the new parliament building was to be located but huge delays after the uncovering of important antiquities led to spiralling costs.
The mayor went on to say that one should not deviate from the local plan for Nicosia’s city centre.
“The option of siting the House building in the centre of Nicosia is not only a town planning option but also a national one,” he stated.
“Moving the House building cannot be a matter of a single person’s decision. It concerns both the executive and all parliamentary parties. That is why we will move with transparency and have meetings with the President of the Republic, with all heads of parliamentary parties and other bodies.”
This was understood to be a dig at House Speaker Demetris Syllouris, who it is said is now mulling the option of locating the new parliament building near the Christos Stelios Ioannou Foundation at the entrance to Nicosia, in the suburbs.
A statement echoing Yiorkdajis’ sentiments was released by a group of municipal councillors from the Disy, Akel, Diko, Solidarity and Edek parties.
The matter has now resurfaced because some two weeks ago authorities determined that the site at Pasidy hill was a no-go.
Prior to that, Yiorkadjis himself had vetoed relocating and/or extending parliament to the nearby site of the municipal theatre, no longer in use after its roof collapsed in June 2008.
Also weighing in, two municipal councillors of Aglandjia released a statement on Monday proposing relocating parliament to the international conference centre and the old Philoxenia hotel.
They said the site, having recently undergone renovation work, can easily accommodate the new parliament, thus requiring minimal costs.
The site of the international conference centre was also optimal, located as it is off a main road and close to CyBC and police headquarters, also affording plenty of parking space.
The current parliament building, in the Nicosia city centre, is ageing and has limited space.
Last October President Nicos Anastasiades announced that some €70m would be allocated for the new building.