If opposition parties want there to be early elections, they should just say so, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Sunday.

He was speaking during an interview with Phileleftheros which focused on the budget, which did not pass largely because it was not supported by Diko, which has traditionally backed the Anastasiades government’s budgets.

“I do not believe Akel voted against [the budget] because it wants early elections. They do not say such a thing. It was because the party disagrees with the economic philosophy of the government, and that is completely understandable.

“Diko had completely different reasons and aims when it voted against the budget though,” he added. “Aims that had nothing to do with the state budget”.

He wondered why Diko insists on its policy over the auditor general when it had not raised any opposition to the role of the official being taken to the supreme court.

The budget, despite numerous amendments adopted by the opposition, failed to pass last month, when Diko voted against it because of the government’s refusal to hand over documents on the now defunct citizenships by investment scheme to the auditor general.

The party is blackmailing the budget over the issue, Anastasiades said.

In a statement issued on Sunday Diko said it would only be with the pressure of the House that the government would hand over the files.

“For this reason we call on opposition parties one more time to unite their voices with ours to achieve the control, transparency and cleansing that society demands,” Diko said.

The government has repeatedly stated that the Audit Office will be able to audit the Cyprus Investment Programme within the framework and scope of its constitutional responsibilities, immediately after the completion of the investigation by the investigative committee appointed by the Attorney General of the Republic, Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said on Sunday.

It is well known, as the Auditor General himself has stated, that the Government is bound by the legal opinions of the Attorney General, who has documented the reasons why two parallel investigation procedures cannot be carried out.DIKO’s obsession with the Auditor General investigating specific cases continues for obvious political and partisan reasons, using and politically exploiting Odysseas Michaelidis. At the same time, DIKO continues to punish our people by voting against the state budget and leaving exposed vulnerable groups, small and medium enterprises and citizens as a whole, invoking unsubstantiated arguments that have nothing to do with budgets and economic policy.

Asked how much he would choose to take the disagreement over the auditor general to the Supreme Court, Anastasiades said “The president of the republic does not want to pick a fight with anyone. What it requires is that all operate within their remit as outlined by the constitution”.

“The auditor-general is out of line, violating clauses of the constitution, disregarding institutions and, sadly, is undermining the prestige of the very institution he was called to serve,” government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos has said.

Talks are still ongoing with the smaller parties to get enough backing for the budget.

It must be resubmitted during the first ten days of January.