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Cyprus

Future of contested parliamentary seat uncertain

Giorgos Papadopoulos from the Solidarity Movement

The future of the parliamentary seat which until a few days ago belonged to Giorgos Papadopoulos, as an MP for Solidarity Movement, appeared to be up in the air on Wednesday.

Papadopoulos had to leave his seat after the supreme court ruled on Monday that legislation used to help keep Papadopoulos the seat he inherited from Solidarity party leader Eleni Theocharous was unconstitutional.

Attorney-General Costas Clerides, speaking to the state broadcaster on Wednesday, said he disagreed with the majority of the court’s full bench, six in favour and five against, which found the law unconstitutional.

The decision was respected he said but warned it was a difficult case that needed to be well studied.

The legal services are holding meetings on the matter to try and decide the best way forward.

Chief returning officer Demetris Demetriou said not much could be said on the future of the seat as nothing concrete yet had been decided.

Asked whether there was a timeframe, he said the law provided a vacated seat should be filled within 45 days however the supreme court had ruled the seat never belonged to Solidarity as Theocharous was never sworn in.

As such, it was a seat that was never occupied.

This is the second time the case has gone to court, after former Disy MP Andreas Michaelides appealed Papadopoulos’ election.

In 2016, Theocharous was elected on Solidarity’s ticket but chose to stay on as a MEP in the European Parliament. As such, her seat went to Papadopoulos who had been the party’s runner up with 767, a far cry from Theocharous’ 3,788.

The supreme court in May 2017 cancelled Papadopoulos’ election but House president Demetris Syllouris, who also belongs to Solidarity, then tabled a proposal, which was eventually voted into law, that allowed seats vacated after an elected MP has been sworn in to go to the next in line of the party.

This was deemed as unconstitutional on Monday.


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