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President looking at foreclosures freeze after minister recommends veto

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades urged the president to veto

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades was examining on Saturday, along with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, the legislation approved by parliament on Friday to temporarily suspend foreclosures, the government spokesman said.

The legislation effectively issued a temporary postponement of foreclosure procedures relating to primary residences that could be eligible for inclusion in a state borrower relief scheme, Estia, that starts in September.

Georgiades said on Friday night he would ask the president to veto the bills, suggesting it had been a populist move by parliament.

The matter will also be discussed with the legal service.

“Today’s decisions by parliament may temporarily satisfy a section of the public opinion but they undermine the public interest,” the minister said on Twitter on Friday. “I will recommend to the president to veto the decisions in the hope that parliament would re-examine its decisions calmly and responsibly.”

“Mr Georgiades should have realised by now that the changes adopted by parliament are the spawns of government policy that left borrowers at the mercy of banks’ arbitrariness,” opposition party Akel said in an announcement on Saturday.

Akel added that the government should focus more on protecting the right to housing and borrowers with bad loans, rather than on protecting the interests of banks.

“Even the highly-marketed Estia scheme is nothing more than “a form of state aid to banks,” as Disy president Averof Neophytou admitted publicly,” Akel said.

The party noted that even though improvement has been made to the legislation whereby borrowers can seek a suspension of the foreclosure of their property through court, the law has still not eliminated the right of banks to proceed with foreclosures of mortgaged properties.

“In the end what is ‘public interest’? Protecting society and the public or just the banks?” Akel said.

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