The House selection committee meets tomorrow to assign MPs to the 16 House committees, amid speculation on whether smaller parties will be given a committee to chair, even though they do not meet the seven MP threshold to qualify as a parliamentary group.
Leaders of the seven political parties elected to parliament on May 30 met on Monday under new House president Annita Demetriou to exchange views on the issue.
Only Disy, Akel and Diko, who have more than seven MPs and are therefore strictly speaking entitled to chair a House committee, make up the selection committee.
However, in the past, political parties have taken a consensual approach in sharing out the top spots, with both Edek and Citizens’ Alliance assigned a chairmanship in the previous House, even though they had only three seats each.
This was pointed out by Disy’s parliamentary spokesman Nicos Tornaritis who told reporters after the meeting that it was the selection committee and not the parties which assigned the committees.
And he stressed the need for consensus so that parties together can address the many challenges ahead, such as the pandemic, the economy and the reforms on which EU financing for Cyprus recovery and resilience fund is contingent.
“We are open to dialogue, we are building bridges every day and expected our interlocutors to do the same,” he said.
In the previous House, Disy chaired six committees, Akel four, Diko three, and Edek and Citizens Alliance once each.
But in a sign of potential headaches ahead, Akel – which with 15 MPs is the second largest party – said on Monday it would not cede a committee chairmanship to Elam. The far-right party elected four MPs, the same number as Edek and Dipa.
Akel parliamentary spokesman Yiorgos Loucaides also said that party leaders had agreed that the maximum number of MPs per committee would be 11. Each MP could participate in a maximum of four committees.
Loucaides said that based on the parties’ strength, Disy and Akel should get six committee chairmanships each and Diko should get four.
The constitution and House rules are both clear that only parties that form a parliamentary group can chair a committee he noted but added that Akel was ready to concede one its chairmanships to the Greens. It had also made clear that it would not concede a chairmanship or a share of it to Elam.
The fact that Disy had the House presidency should be factored in when dividing the committee chairmanships, just as in the previous House, Solidarity which had three MPs did not get a committee because its MP Demetris Syllouris had been elected House president, Loucaides added.