Cyprus Mail

Nouris calls on parties to back President’s Akamas referral

Υπουργός Εσωτερικών – Ετήσιο μνημ
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Sunday expressed the hope that parliamentary parties would have second thoughts on municipal reform and pass the bill sent back by President Nicos Anastasiades.

The referral, he said, only concerns the government’s attempt to establish a cluster of Akamas communities.

He said if the government had wanted to cause problems with the passing of the bill there were other issues it could have taken up.

“We consented exactly because our country needs reform, we have all worked consensually for too many years and therefore this effort can neither be compromised nor torpedoed,” Nouris said.

After years of discussion and haggling, MPs last month finally approved three local government reform bills aimed at creating more efficient local authorities. Changes include reducing the number of municipalities from 30 to 20 and the clustering of local councils.

But Nouris said the Akamas is something different and special, it is the national park of the country and he estimated that the methodology followed by parliament was baseless.

He said that, only a few days before the vote, a proposal was submitted which not only does not serve the interests of the communities of the Akamas area, but splits it into three by sending some of the communities to Peyia, some to Polis Chrysochous, and essentially leaving Chlorakas outside any municipality.

Nouris said there should be a correction of this distortion as “municipalities should be viable entities”.

It is for this reason the president has referred the bill back to the House, he said.

“I stress that it is not our intention to create a problem, on the contrary, it is our intention to solve problems because Europe is watching us and Europe is interested in protecting Cyprus, the area called the National Forest Park and of course the Akamas area, which I believe we have achieved through the preparation of the local plan,” Nouris said.

“I would therefore like to hope that second thoughts will be given by the parliamentary parties and that the referral of the President will be voted through”.

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