A total of 85 amendments to the local government reform bills were presented during the House interior committee on Thursday, which took place behind closed doors.

While most of the amendments concerned minor issues, some touched on thorny long-standing ones, such as municipality mergers and community clustering.

Another session of the committee is expected to take place on January 27, where the final bills are likely to be presented. The final vote in the plenum is scheduled to take place in the House in February.

After the meeting, Aristos Damianou, Akel MP and committee chair, told the press that “a creative debate was held and efforts were made to find convergences on a number of issues.”

He added that all the members of the committee have vowed to find a common ground to all the issues by next Thursday before taking the bill to the plenum.

“We have repeatedly said that the passage of this reform is a necessity and therefore we will work towards bringing it to the plenum as soon as possible in February.”

Damianou also said that the majority of parties support the creation of 20 municipalities, except ruling Disy, which insists on 17 and Dipa, which proposes 14.