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Cyprus

MPs demanding shorter, simpler code of ethics

MPs hope to have a new, shorter, and simpler code of ethics text by early September so that they can discuss its adoption, as Cyprus has one of the few parliaments without one.

The House ethics committee continued discussion of a 155-page ethics code drafted by House president Demetris Syllouris and reiterated that the code must be short, understandable, and user friendly.

Committee chairman Zaharias Zahariou said the “objective is to make the code much smaller, user friendly, and understandable” by the end of August or beginning of September.

“We are among the few parliaments that do not have a code of ethics,” something recommended by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (Greco).

Green party chairman Giorgos Perdikis said the matter should not be left for the next parliament to decide. The current term ends in May 2021.

“The fact that we have a code spanning dozens of pages … does not help,” he said. “There is a lot of repetition and a lot of unnecessary text.”

From the first day it was presented, MPs said the code was too long and complex, among others.

Included are provisions that some MPs have said suppress free speech, freedom of information, and the transparency it was supposed to safeguard.

The code would bar deputies from giving any information to journalists or having “isolated contact” with any. The code also stipulates what a deputy could write in articles published in the press.

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