Legislators on Tuesday vetoed the outgoing administration’s proposal to appoint three members to the Gaming & Casino Supervision Commission – the public body exercising oversight over the casinos – leaving the matter to the new government.

At the House commerce committee the majority of MPs insisted that the appointments wait until the new government takes office.

“It is wrong for the current government to insist on appointing the new [Commission] members now,” said Akel’s Costa Costa.

For his part, Edek MP Elias Myrianthous pointed out that, by contrast, President Nicos Anastasiades had left to his successor the appointment of the board chairman at the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

“The same should happen for the new members of the Gaming Commission.”

Ruling Disy argued for the immediate filling of the positions, otherwise a vacuum would be created.

But a representative of the attorney-general’s office told MPs there would be no legal problem with any decisions taken by the Commission while only four people sit on it. As such the body can operate normally in the meantime.

The Commission’s members are normally seven. Three positions have opened up, as the term of these members expired on February 5. Back in November, the cabinet had named the three individuals who would fill these slots.

Opposition lawmakers have blocked the appointment of these three, particularly objecting to the inclusion of current Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve) head Christodoulos Angastiniotis.

Akel and Edek say that because Melco – the company licensed to run the casinos – is also a ‘member’ of Keve that creates a potential conflict of interest.

But Angastiniotis has dismissed the notion. He has previously said that, contrary to what some MPs claim, Keve does not have ‘members’ per se. As such, Melco is not a member of Keve.

Neither is Melco listed as a donor to Keve, he added.

But critics of his intended appointment remain unconvinced, their misgivings further piqued by President Anastasiades’ persistence to tie up this loose end just as he’s about to leave office.

In addition to the CyBC appointment, the Anastasiades administration has in the past left a number of semi-governmental organisations without a board for a whole month.

The law governing the operation and control of casinos contains a conflict of interest clause. It states that a person may not be appointed to the Gaming Commission if that person, or their spouse, or up to a fourth-degree relation, engages in a related business enterprise or holds shares – amounting to more than 1 per cent of the share capital – in a company engaging in business relevant to casino operations.