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Parliament to convene over vacant seat

Cyprus scored a 9.17 for electoral process and pluralism

Parliament will convene next Wednesday in a bid to resolve the issue of a seat that the Supreme Court vacated because it had been filled through improper procedures.

In April, the Supreme Court annulled the election of Solidarity MP Giorgos Papadopoulos to parliament, after he had essentially inherited his seat from party leader Eleni Theocharous.

The dispute began shortly after the parliamentary elections in 2016 when Theocharous, leader of the Solidarity Movement, ran for the seat of MP while also maintaining a position in European Parliament as MEP.

After her election as Limassol MP with 3,788 votes, she opted to keep her place as MEP, leaving her seat to the party’s runner-up, Papadopoulos, who received 767 votes.

Former Disy MP Andreas Michaelides filed an appeal on the grounds that he had received 4,734 votes.

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

That arrangement was thrown out by the top court, essentially leaving parliament with 55 seats as parties debate how they could resolve the problem.

During the party leaders’ meeting on Thursday, Syllouris informed MPs that he planned to table a proposal giving back the seat to Solidarity with the backing of the majority.

CyBC reported that amending the constitution was not on the cards as that would necessitate a two-thirds majority, an impossible feat as ruling DISY, which has 18 seats, is against the seat going back to Solidarity without a by-election.

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