Edek chairman Marinos Sizopoulos said on Monday he had a productive meeting at the presidential palace where he discussed his party’s conditions for backing the revised state budget for 2021 and was now waiting for the government’s decision before the party convened to take its final decision.
Speaking on private Ant1 television, Sizopoulos said his party’s political bureau was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, a day before the revised budget is put to the vote in parliament.
It remains to be seen whether the government satisfies the party’s demand for a court to handle banking matters, which Edek says was the most important proposal out of a series submitted.
“I think we are one more step closer to a positive conclusion,” Sizopoulos said, adding that most of Edek’s proposals appear to have been accepted.
“The most important proposal is the court that will hear cases relating to foreclosures and excessive bank charges,” he said.
The head of Edek said they thought the court would be able to protect borrowers from arbitrary decisions, mainly made by banks.
“I think this is very important.”
The first bill had been rejected in December after opposition Diko voted against it because the government refused to allow the auditor-general to probe the island’s controversial citizenships for investment programme. Diko had been voting for state budgets throughout the current administration’s term despite disagreement on other issues.
The government accused the party of blackmail for using a matter that was not related to the budget as leverage.
The administration and ruling Disy are now counting on Edek’s three votes to pass the bill but the party has made its own demands, some being difficult to grant.
Most of Edek’s demands have been granted but two MPs insist that more rights should be given to borrowers facing foreclosure.
One of their demands is that a borrower should be given the right to buy their defaulted loan at 50 to 55 per cent of its value before it was auctioned.
Sizopoulos said the party would now wait for the government decision before the political bureau convened to take the final decision. The bureau’s decision is binding, despite disagreements.
“You can disagree but you must respect the majority,” Sizopoulos said.
Later Monday, chairman of the House legal affairs committee, Disy MP, Giorgos Georgiou announced that on Friday, the committee will examine on an amendment to the courts law that provides for courts to be granted special authority to hear cases relating to disagreements between banks and borrowers, the sale of mortgaged property used as collateral, and the acquisition of bank bonds between 2008 and 2013.
“The above cases will be examined in a short time and concludes within 60 days from their submission,” Georgiou said in a written statement.