After saying he would not veto a budget amendment that would see the dismissal of four presidential aides, President Nicos Anastasiades signalled on Thursday that the individuals in question would be seeking recourse to the Supreme Court over the issue.
Anastasiades said on Wednesday he would not be vetoing the opposition amendment because that would mean vetoing the state budget with whatever negative effects it would entail.
The president said sending the bill back to parliament would most probably see it ending up for adjudication before the Supreme Court, which has the final say, whose decision could take weeks if not months.
“I will sign the budget (law) but will not concede the right to resort to the Supreme Court based on (article) 139 on the conflict that is observed … through parliament’s unconstitutional and arbitrary action to intervene in the executive,” Anastasiades said on Thursday.
He said the issue was a legal one, that is, the associates themselves claiming their rights in a court.
Anastasiades fired a shot however at those who voted for the amendment, including Marios Garoyian’s Dipa party, which has several members employed at the presidential palace and elsewhere.
“What I want to note with regret is that there cannot be a selective reference to presidential associates when there is a precedent in parliament concerning eight employees.”
Anastasiades declined to name names, when pressed by reporters.
“I am not referring to anyone. I am referring to what happened in parliament, and it is a matter for either the auditor-general or someone else to investigate.”
According to the amendment, the employment of the four associates would be terminated at the end of the administration’s term.
One of the individuals concerned – but not named – is Anastasiades’ niece. She’s understood to be employed as Anastasiades’ aide at the presidential palace.
The four were described as secretarial staff, working for the Presidency since 2013.
Three of them are personal assistants, the fourth an IT officer. Two of them had served as assistants to Anastasiades from the time he was chairman of the Disy party.