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Cyprus

We’ll resign if government resigns over Co-op, MPs tell Neophytou

Disy leader Averof Neophytou has some tough choices to make

Opposition parties said on Monday they would agree to dissolve parliament if the government also resigned, responding to ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou’s challenge during Friday’s discussion in the plenum on the damning findings of a probe into the collapse of the Co-op bank.

Opposition parties have insisted on the finance minister’s resignation over the bank’s demise and passed a resolution on Friday demanding that he stepped down or be dismissed by the president.

Neophytou pointed out that the minister, Harris Georgiades, had been asked to deal with a sorry state of affairs created long before 2013, when the Co-op was nationalised.

On Monday, Neophytou described the opposition parties as “microphone tough guys who want to assign the blame on others and ignore their own.”

He cited the report’s findings, which also assigned blame to political parties for the situation at the Co-op before 2013, saying their meddling was disastrous.

If they want to hold the minister accountable, they, as party representatives, must also assume their own responsibilities, Neophytou said.

“We cannot be the judges of ourselves. We must ask the people to judge us. Why are they afraid?” he said.

Some commentators rejected Neophytou’s challenge as a public relations stunt but so far opposition leaders have failed to call his bluff, if it is indeed one.

Main opposition Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said his party was prepared to discuss dissolving parliament if the government resigned first over its responsibility in the collapse of the Co-op.

“We are ready to discuss declaration of early parliamentary elections when presidential elections are announced,” he said.

Diko chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos, who had likened Neophytou’s statement to a flashbang grenade, echoed Kyprianou.

“If Disy means what they are saying then the first thing they should suggest is the resignation of the government since the report was clear that the administration is to blame for the collapse of the Co-op bank,” he said on Monday.

Edek chairman Marinos Sizopoulos said his party would go with whatever the majority decided while the head of the Green party, Giorgos Perdikis, said if such elections were held, none of the current MPs must take part.

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