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Opposition parties plan to push ahead with halting foreclosures

Opposition parties said on Monday they planned to submit amendments to the courts bill to allow borrowers to stop foreclosures.

The House finance committee left the matter open to see whether the government would withdraw the courts bill. In that case, the House legal affairs committee will go ahead with 13 foreclosures-related proposals submitted by opposition parties and one more by Akel to extend a suspension of foreclosures until July 31.

The opposition’s plan is to put the proposals to the vote by April 22.

The issue was discussed by the House finance committee behind closed doors.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou said a number of proposals had been submitted by the opposition at the legal affairs committee to incorporate into the courts bill “the required protection net against foreclosures”.

“The key aspect of these proposals is the restoration of the constitutionally established right of borrowers to seek a foreclosure suspension from court,” Damianou said.

The Akel MP accused ruling Disy of removing that right in 2018, through an opportunistic majority in parliament.

Damianou said if the government chose to withdraw the courts bill, the opposition would go ahead with independent proposals to be put before the plenum.

Opposition parties are bent on amending the legislation ahead of the parliamentary elections in May, despite warnings from various quarters that it would have negative effects.

Banks warned it would further bolster the weak repayment culture and impact the lenders’ capital and provisions for bad debts while it could also prompt ratings agencies to downgrade Cyprus to non-investment grade, a move that would make it impossible for the island to borrow from international markets.

 

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