Cyprus Mail

Audit office against allowing civil servants to keep job on hold while serving as MP


The audit office on Friday called on political parties to ditch a proposal that would allow civil servants to be elected as MPs without resigning from their post, saying this would undermine efforts to combat corruption.

In a written statement, the audit office said “it was with great surprise” they read about the intention of House institutions committee to amend an article in the constitution and abolish the incompatibility of the status of civil servants with the status of parliamentarians.

If this were to be implemented, the audit office said, “it would be an unprecedented undermining of the effort to combat the phenomena of corruption and interference which the political parties profess to support”.

The amendment, which aims to allow public servants to become members of parliament while their position would wait for them until they complete their parliamentary term, “would run counter to the constitutional principle of the separation of the administrative function of the state from political power”, the audit office said.

That separation has been described in many judicial decisions as fundamental and as defining the sphere of competence of political power on the one hand and that of the administration on the other, it added.

“Political parties are cells of democracy and have an extremely important task to perform in ensuring the democratic functioning of the state.

“But they ought to stay away from the administrative functioning of the state,” the audit office said.

Furthermore, any interference of political power with the administrative functioning of the state would constitute a component of corruption, and at the same time would undermine the citizens’ confidence in the state, which is expected to be politically neutral.

“Political neutrality of the administration is essential,” the statement said, especially for the administrations of ministries and departments.

In addition to the “serious issues of principle”, the audit office pointed out that issues of functionality would also arise, especially in the case of higher positions that would have to remain vacant for years.

“All high positions in the civil service (with a scale higher than A13) are open to all residents” hence any MP can apply after the end of their term, the audit office said, calling on the parties to abandon any intention to amend the specific article of the constitution.

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