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Parties fail to agree over MP seat conundrum

Giorgos Papadopoulos from the Solidarity Movement

There is still no direction on what should be done with the parliamentary seat vacated by former Solidarity MP Giorgos Papadopoulos, it emerged on Monday after a meeting between parliamentary party representatives and the attorney general yielded no results.

The debate is whether the constitution should be amended or whether a by-election should be held, with Disy pushing for the latter.

Changing the constitution would require two thirds of the votes in parliament in favour of the amendment which should be made from 56 lawmakers. The House however currently seats 55 since the exit of Papadopoulos, the attorney general noted.

Disy leader Averof Neophytou said if the argument is that parliamentary seats belong to parties then the position in European Parliament held by Eleni Theocharous should be held by Disy.

Theocharous was originally elected as MEP on Disy’s ticket but later left the party but kept her position.

In 2016, she was also elected as Limassol MP with 3,788 votes but then opted to stay on as MEP giving the seat to fellow Solidarity member Papadopoulos who came in second after Theocharous with 767 votes.

Former Disy MP Andreas Michaelides then took the case to court because he got 4,734 votes, more than Papadopoulos.

Neophytou argued that if the parliamentary seat belongs to the party then so too should the three seats that Citizens Alliance had after they were voted into parliament.

Party leader Giorgos Lillikas along with MP Anna Theologou and Pavlos Mylonas were elected on the Citizens Alliance ticket.

Both Theologou and Mylonas left the party staying on as independents with Mylonas recently joining the ranks of Diko.

Akel MP Giorgos Loukaides said they had criticised Theocharou’s political behaviour to run for a seat she never intended to keep and it was up to the people to judge.

In May 2017, the supreme court cancelled Papadopoulos’ election for the first time but House president Demetris Syllouris, who also belongs to Solidarity, tabled a proposal, eventually voted into law, allowing seats vacated before an elected MP has been sworn in to go to the next in line from that party.

It was this law that supreme court declared unconstitutional last month with a majority of six votes in favour and five against.

The decision said as Theocharous was never sworn in, the seat had never belonged to Solidarity to begin with.

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