Smaller parties, which include far-right Elam, ought to have a House committee chair in the name of cooperation and consensus, ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou said on Wednesday.
“The elections have finished. We have an obligation, a responsibility to cooperate for the good of the country,” he said. “Our biggest party, which I personally love more than anything, is the party called Cyprus.”
Parties have so far failed to come to an agreement over the chairs of the 16 House committees.
Disy, Akel and Diko as the only parties who have at least seven MPs constitute a parliamentary group, and therefore make up the selection committee.
Under the constitution and House rules, the same requirement applies to committee chairmanships, but previous practice has been to ‘cede’ three or four of these posts the smaller parties.
Based on the size of the parliamentary groups, Disy and Akel should each get six chairmanships and Diko four.
Elam said it does not fully agree with the way the selection committee is established.
“It makes it seem like the House is made up of three, and not seven, parties,” leader Christos Christou said, adding that the party is hoping to lead at least one House committee.
Meanwhile, Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos said that his party will not accept a chairmanship as a favour.
“It is inconceivable that the three largest parties are claiming more committee chairs even after seeing a nine per cent reduction in votes,” he said.
Akel says it is willing to cede the chairmanship of the House environment committee to the Greens but made it clear it would not be making any concessions for Elam. Disy could do so, since they were “pals”, Akel leader Andros Kyprianou has said.
On Wednesday, Neophytou argued that the constitution did not ban smaller parties from having any chairs and this had been the practice for decades.
“If Akel wants to change a long-standing practice in parliament it is within its rights. I repeat, the constitution does not prohibit it,” Neophytou said.
The Disy leader said his party considered it right to continue the practice in the name of cooperation and consensus.
“We are in politics to give solutions to problems and not try to find problems in a solution,” he said.
Christou said that Akel’s stance “violates every principle of democracy,” since Elam has been voted into parliament by public vote.
Disy has been accused of colluding with Elam to win the House presidency. Others believe granting the far-right a House committee chair is part of a growing cooperation between the two parties.