Justice Minister Stefi Drakou on Friday sought the support of main opposition party Akel to move forward on the much-awaited justice reform bills and a legal framework to combat corruption.

Akel was the first political party the minister has visited since she took office on July 1. There she met-newly elected party secretary Stephanos Stephanou and Akel’s two MPs members of the House Legal Affairs committee.

She spoke of a “very beneficial, useful and constructive” meeting and said she had listened with great attention and an open mind to the positions of the general secretary and his team and their reservations on specific points.

And she underlined there was a shared agreement on the need to move forward on the two issues. Both sides share the public’s concern over the slow wheels of justice and had heard society’s calls for action against corruption, she added.

“We have agreed to keep an open, constant communication so as to ensure that the soonest possible we will reach the final goal, which is none other than for the bills to be approved so that what society is demanding is achieved. I anticipate a very good cooperation with Akel in the House,” she added.

Drakou stressed the need for flexibility to deliver results and pledged to make every effort to overcome differences.

The minister said she had started a new round of contacts in order to formulate a clearer picture, beginning with Akel whose role she said was catalytic in achieving the desired objective.

Drakou has already discussed the proposed justice reform with the supreme court and will also be meeting the Cyprus Bar Association.

Stephanou struck a conciliatory tone, agreeing that the discussion had been constructive and productive and stressing the need to build as much consensus as possible on justice reform that was so essential.

Given that there were three parties to the debate – the executive, the judiciary and the legislature – the better the understanding the easier it would be to vote the reform through, he added.

Parliament has already made significant improvements to the original bills submitted by the government, but there was still work to do.

“To the minister we conveyed Akel’s readiness to continue to behave in the same constructive and creative way in the House and the competent committee, submitting specific proposals, thoughts and views and specific amendments to the bills,” he said.

Stephanou said the bills to combat corruption were also discussed against the background of what he described as the very unpleasant situation prevailing in Cyprus. The country was a target internationally, necessitating actions to address this issue effectively, he added.

Akel was ready to strengthen the legal tools to tackle this problem but was convinced that what was needed first was the political will where it had submitted specific proposals to the minister.