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Our View: Parties’ vote on foreclosures amendments recklessly irresponsible

THE reckless irresponsibility of our political parties when pandering to voters is a real danger to the country. But nothing else matters if they believe a decision will endear them to a section of the public by creating the impression they are caring and supportive. They ignore, of course, the harm such policies may cause the rest of the population, as they will simply blame this on outside forces or the government. They never take responsibility for their damaging actions.

Friday’s amendment of the foreclosures law that was approved in the last session of parliament before the summer recess is a case in point. The parties were not even prepared to put off approval of the amendment until parliament reconvenes in September and there could be a proper debate about its many negative consequences. Diko, which had originally submitted the proposal, was prepared to wait until September, but as the rest of the opposition parties pushed for its approval last Friday, it voted with them. It could not be seen failing to back such a populist proposal, especially as it had drafted it.

The scandal is that the foreclosures law that was eventually approved by the legislature in 2014 had been rendered ineffective by the changes made to it by the opposition parties. It was amended last year to speed up procedures and make it more effective because the country had come under criticism for the slow rate at which NPLs were being reduced, but last Friday the parties voted amendments to slow things down again.

The decisions not only annulled the 2018 decisions, said finance minister Harris Georgiades on Monday, but certain changes were so bad, that procedures may become slower than before 2015. This was the time when it took between seven and 12 years for a foreclosure procedure to be completed. Georgiades, behaving like the only grown-up in Cyprus politics urged the president to veto the bills – Disy chief Averof Neophytou also took a stand against the lunacy – which would mean the 2018 law will stay in place at least until September.

By then the Estia scheme that would help borrowers and, scandalously, strategic defaulters to repay their bank loans should be in place and the parties will forget their amendments. If the president does not veto them, however, another banking crisis will be on the cards. Opposition parties are too ignorant to see that their irresponsible amendments could lead the economy to a new disaster.


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