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Cyprus

MPs mull postponing local elections

elections

The House interior committee will discuss the possibility of postponing the next local elections, as parliament ponders on local authority reforms.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou said MPs will discuss the matter on September 9 in the presence of Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

Nouris has concluded a round of talks with parties in which he lobbied for a postponement of December’s elections to better implement the reforms that have not yet been approved.

Damianou said he expected the government to make its proposal official so that parties can prepare their positions.

Akel, he said, will go ahead and confirm its candidates in the next weeks.

Diko MP Panicos Leonidou said his party favoured having the elections in December unless the party decided otherwise later on.

The reform provides for sweeping changes in local authority operation, including cutting the number of municipalities from 30 to 17 and fusing hundreds of communities.

The stated aim of the reform drive is to achieve economies of scale and lower the cost of services.

But several key issues have emerged throughout the process, such as some municipalities not wishing to merge and instead proposing their own plans.

Parties ostensibly support the reform, billing it as necessary, but they disagree on how to roll it out, threatening to scupper the entire project.

Main opposition Akel is adamant that separate referenda should be held in all communities on whether they agree with the reform.

The government said having individual communities reject the reform bill after it is passed by parliament would essentially nullify the reform, as it would render it unenforceable.

 

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