Citing constitutional issues, President Nicos Anastasiades has refused to sign into law a bill passed by parliament to make the legislature financially independent so that it can draft its own budget.
Last Friday, parliament changed the constitution to make the legislature financially independent in that it can now draft its own budget without the executive’s involvement.
It was the 19th constitutional amendment and it was proposed by House President Demetris Syllouris.
MPs amended article 167 of the constitution to say that parliament’s budget is drafted by its president and approved by the MPs. It is then incorporated in the state budget without any changes provided it observes the fiscal terms set by the government.
However, the president sent the bill back saying parliament did not secure the permission of the government on the precise wording of the bill.
In his letter to parliament, Anastasiades said the act violated article 80.2 of the constitution, which prohibits MPs from introducing bills that raise the state’s budgetary expenditure.
The president also recommends amending article 167.7 of the constitution to remove any ambiguity regarding parliament’s compliance with the broader fiscal conditions and the respective spending ceilings set by the government.
The paragraph must also clearly state that EU law supersedes national law, the president said.
The House legal affairs committee is now expected to convene to discuss the issue and decide whether it accepts the president’s position.
If not, the matter will likely end up before the supreme court, which has the final say.