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House votes to accept president’s referral of PEP list

House President Demetris Syllouris

With a majority vote, parliament voted on Friday to accept the president’s referral back to lawmakers on the decision to publish the controversial list containing names of politically exposed persons (PEPs) with non-performing loans.

There were 23 votes in favour, five against and three abstained.

House President Demetris Syllouris refused to publish the list, saying he would not be going against the law after receiving the positions of both the attorney general and the commissioner for data protection.

Two weeks ago, deputies voted to publish the list but inserted a caveat that President Nicos Anastasiades would have to make the final decision.

On Wednesday, Anastasiades referred the list back to parliament citing the opinion of the attorney-general who said under the constitution, the president must sign parliamentary decisions.

Publishing the PEP list however, under Article 52 does not fall under the term “decision” but is rather “an expression of political will” which the constitution does not have any provisions for, the AG opined.

At the same time, there is also a conflict on the separation of powers, the AG said, as on July 17 when MPs agreed to publish the list, House President Syllouris was also filling in the position of President of the Republic.

By accepting the president’s referral on Friday, parliament accepted the position that it is a political decision and not a law.

Discussions over the list will continue with the ad hoc committee, or the House legal committee.

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