The parliament’s Selection Committee on Thursday decided that the ad hoc committee on demographics – chaired by nationalist party Elam – restrict itself to discussing matters such as birth rates and stay away from issues pertaining to migration.
The Selection Committee decides the allocation of MPs across the various parliamentary committees.
Though welcoming the decision, Akel said this restriction alone would not be enough to stop Elam from “injecting their racist poison into society” – a reference to Elam’s views on migrants.
Akel MP George Loukaides said he had doubts whether the constraint would prevent Elam from bringing up migration-related issues at future sessions of the ad hoc committee.
Normally migration-related issues are the purview of the House interior affairs committee. But since the establishment of the ad hoc committee on demographics, migration has often been discussed there as well.
Ideally, Loukaides stressed, they would have wanted the scrapping of the ad hoc committee on demographics. That’s because ad hoc committees are created for a specific timeframe and to serve a particular objective – such as issuing a findings report. After that, there is no reason for an ad hoc committee to continue existing.
But in practice, the ad hoc committee on demographics has turned into “a permanent sub-committee,” Loukaides complained.
He also cited parliamentary regulations, according to which any party that has seven or more seats is designated as constituting a “parliamentary team.” Under the rules, only parliamentary teams may chair a committee.
Given that Elam has only four seats, normally they should have not been assigned chairmanship of any committee.
According to Loukaides, this exception was made for Elam because earlier parliament had granted similar exceptions to other parties with fewer than seven seats, such as to socialists Edek.
He was advocating for returning to a purist interpretation of parliamentary regulations.
“Unfortunately, both these proposals of ours were rejected [at the Selection Committee],” the MP said.
“However, we never had, and do not have now, any obligation to grant the chairmanship of any committee to a fascist, Nazi party that is a subsidiary of [Greece’s] Golden Dawn,” he said, again alluding to Elam.
Elam (National Popular Front) currently holds four seats in parliament. In the 2021 legislative elections the party garnered 6.78 per cent of the popular vote.
Akel and others have accused Elam of fomenting or even organising the anti-migrant riots taking place recently in Chlorakas and Limassol.