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Cyprus

MPs shy away from electoral reform

No major changes are expected in the next parliamentary elections, as the House interior committee shelved a number of proposals on Monday, apart from one providing for an increase in MPs.

The head of the committee, Akel’s Eleni Mavrou, said MPs had finished discussion of various proposals relating to elections and it did not appear that any major changes would be made by the next poll in 2021.

The only proposal remaining on the table was Edek’s to increase the number of MPs, Mavrou said.

Others concerning procedures, cross-voting and the electoral threshold, lacked the necessary party support to be put to the vote.

Diko MP Panicos Leonidou said his party disagreed with the practice of discussing changes in the electoral law several months before the elections so it had decided not to support any of the proposals.

“Just 11 months before the parliamentary elections, we believe we should not touch the electoral law and make substantive amendments concerning our political system,” he said.

Leonidou said Diko proposed keeping the electoral threshold at 3.6 per cent and leaving the number of MPs untouched. The party also disagreed with imposing a limit on the terms of MPs, MEPs, mayors and councilors and discussing any proposals after the parliamentary elections.

Edek chairman Marinos Sizopoulos, on the other hand, argued that it was the best time to raise the number of MPs, which would afford parties and the parliament the opportunity to upgrade its scientific and technocratic levels.

He said their proposal would not change the election process and the fact that Cyprus was 11 months away from the elections was not an excuse.

Edek’s proposal sees an increase in the number of Greek Cypriot MPs by seven, to 63.

The change would also require an increase in the total number of MPs from the current 80 to 90 – the remaining seats belonging to Turkish Cypriots in line with the 7:3 ratio stipulated by the constitution.

Sizopoulos said Cyprus had the smallest number of MPs in the EU with 56; Luxembourg had 60 and Malta 67, he said.

Green party MP Giorgos Perdikis said the party and society wanted cross-voting and MPs should have the guts to implement it.

Perdikis said discussion proved that politicians and society they represented were far apart on the matter.

 

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Source: Cyprus News Agency