Akel leader Andros Kyprianou rejected suggestions on Tuesday that his party would vote on a wiretapping bill depending on who the next attorney-general would be.
He was responding to a report by pro-government daily Alithia that his party disagreed with the bill out of fear that former justice minister Ionas Nicolaou would be appointed attorney-general in a few months’ time after Costas Clerides retired.
Akel “takes a stance on the bills in parliament on the basis of the views it has that are based on the philosophy that guides us,” Kyprianou said.
The two were separate issues, he added, and “it has nothing to do with who would be AG tomorrow.”
Kyprianou said the constitution laid out certain conditions regarding the attorney-general and those conditions set the bar quite high.
“So, what we are telling Mr Anastasiades is that he must respect the conditions set by the constitution on what qualities the AG who will be appointed must have,” the Akel chief added. “We have nothing personal against Mr Nicolaou but we think he does not meet the conditions set by the constitution simply because he had proven through his entire political course that he falls far short.”
If the president nevertheless appoints Nicolaou, then Akel has every right to think there are other reasons for which he is appointed to the position.
“That is, to serve the president’s or Disy’s various expediencies,” Kyprianou said.
The bill in question will allow authorities to conduct phone surveillance and is scheduled to be put to the vote this Friday.
It will be a surprise if Akel votes in favour of the bill, as the party has always been averse to legislation that touched upon an individual’s privacy.
As it so often does, the party is expected to table certain amendments ‘to improve the bill’ but will probably vote against the legislation itself.