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Syllouris resigns under pressure but insists he broke no laws (Update 2)

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House president Demetris Syllouris resigned on Thursday under immense public pressure following an undercover video showing him offering to help a Chinese businessman with a criminal record secure citizenship.

In a written statement, the embattled politician said he was resigning as House president and was also giving up his seat in parliament.

He insisted that he had not broken any law, but said his resignation deprived certain people of the excuse that his presence hindered the smooth operation of parliament.

Following publication of the video, filmed by undercover Al Jazeera reporters, Syllouris said he would be abstaining from his duties pending a police probe into the matter.

“I had also noted that I have already made my decisions on what I would do after the completion of the investigation,” he said.

Syllouris said he would also waive his parliamentary immunity if asked to facilitate the investigation.

“My decisions were based on the unwavering belief that I have not committed a crime and that a possible resignation would imply the opposite,” he said.

“However, I see that my continued stay in the office of House president has been misinterpreted.”

Syllouris attributed the misinterpretation and some people’s desire to exploit the issue for their own political ends, but also the excuses regarding the dysfunction of the legislature, had led him to the decision to resign as House president and MP.

Ruling Disy said Syllouris’ resignation was a move to the right direction and contributed to the smooth operation of parliament, “restoring its credibility and safeguarding the sense of justice.”

Syllouris’ resignation followed that of Akel MP and developer Christakis Giovanis who also featured in the controversial video.

Prominent Famagusta lawyer Andreas Pittadjis also made an appearance.

Syllouris will be replaced by the most senior MP, Akel’s Adamos Adamou.

While replacing Anastasiades who is in Brussels, Adamou will in turn be replaced by Diko MP Zaharias Koulias, who is next in line as regards seniority.

Adamou was informed of the developments while chairing the House health committee.

Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides informed him that he could not be present in any committee meetings as long as he was acting president.

Reports said Adamou intends to convene a meeting of parliament as soon as possible to fill the two seats left vacant by Syllouris and former Akel MP Christakis Giovanis who stepped down on Tuesday for the same reason.

The seats will be filled by the parties’ next in line, former television and radio presenter Roulla Georgiadou from Solidarity, and Yiannakis Gavriel for Akel. Gavriel was third in line but he will be taking the seat after Toumazos Tselepis declined.

 

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