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Anastasiades to seek AG’s advice on vacant MP seat

By George Psyllides

President Nicos Anastasiades will seek the attorney-general’s advice on how to proceed with a bill passed by parliament giving a seat to the Solidarity Movement, which lost it in April after the supreme court annulled the process used to fill it after the 2016 elections, the government spokesman said on Thursday.

Prodromos Prodromou said the president will seek the view of the attorney-general “as is usually the case — at least on serious matters, let alone in this case – when we have two previous court decisions and the opinion of the attorney-general.”

Opposition parties on Wednesday passed the proposal knowing that the bill is unconstitutional and urged the president to sign it so that Solidarity gets the seat.

The supreme court had annulled Solidarity MP Giorgos Papadopoulos’ entry into parliament, after he essentially inherited his seat from party leader Eleni Theocharous. Parliament had been working with 55 MPs since.

The dispute began after 2016 elections when Theocharous ran for MP while maintaining a position in the 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 just 767 votes.

Theocharous has since been accused of making a mockery of the election process since she had probably planned the entire affair.

In May 2017, the supreme court 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 law was also shot down by the Supreme Court since parliament was not in session when Papadopoulos replaced Theocharous and was therefore not covered by the law or the constitution.

Ruling Disy opposes such an arrangement, suggesting instead that a by-election should take place.

“The constitution is the most sacred thing we have as the Republic of Cyprus,” Disy MP Demetris Demetriou said on Thursday. “Yesterday, in parliament, at the Republic’s legislature, the majority of MPs approved a blatantly unconstitutional law. Knowingly. They did not respect the court decisions nor the constitution itself.”

The only solution to the problem, he added, was a by-election.

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