One year after he was sworn in as MP following a protracted legal process that started in May 2016, Solidarity’s Giorgos Papadopoulos lost his seat after the supreme court threw out yet another bill parliament had passed in a bid to avoid holding a by-election.
Papadopoulos had been affirmed in October 2019 after parliament passed a bill providing that in the case a parliament seat is given up or not claimed, it can be filled by the runner-up in the same way it is done when a seat is vacated.
It was the last effort by parliament to settle an issue that started soon after the 2016 elections when the head of the party, Eleni Theocharous, left the seat she had just won, but before being sworn in as Limassol MP.
The seat went to the party’s runner up, Papadopoulos, who received 767 votes against Theocharous’ 3,788.
But since Theocharous gave up the seat before her official affirmation so that she would not have to give up her seat in the EU parliament, former Disy MP Andreas Michaelides filed an appeal on the grounds that he had received 4,734 votes.
In 2017 a proposal by then House president Demetris Syllouris, allowing seats vacated before an elected MP has been sworn in to go to the next in line of the party was voted into law, but the supreme court later declared it unconstitutional, reasoning that since Theocharous was never sworn in, the seat never belonged to Solidarity to begin with.
Lawmakers then passed a new law proposal aiming to address the gap found in the event a parliamentary seat is vacated or not claimed before a confirmation that allowed the seat to go to Papadopoulos.
This too was thrown out by the supreme court, which argued that it could not be retroactive. The law stands, the court said, but only as regards cases that arise from now on.
The options on the table are a by-election or operate with 55 MPs until the May elections.