Cyprus Mail

Proposal allows public to introduce legislation

parliament building
File photo: Cyprus Parliament building

Parliament is reviewing a legislative proposal allowing members of the public to introduce legislation if the proposal garners 5,000 signatures, an MP with the Diko party confirmed on Thursday.

Speaking on a television channel, MP Christiana Erotokritou said the bill they’re examining is based on EU law. It’s designed to “increase the public’s access to the democratic process, so that they can initiate legislation and not just be on the receiving end”.

In addition, members of the public would be able to propose amendments to current legislation.

The MP explained how the system would work. First, a member of the public drafts a proposal. The proposal would then need 5,000 signatures to be considered by parliament.

Once brought to parliament, Erotokritou said, the proposal would pass through several “filters” – meaning checks – to ensure that it does not violate the constitution or impinge on the rights of individuals or groups of individuals.

The legal vetting of such proposals would be done by the parliament’s own legal department.

If a proposal makes it through the first stage of legal vetting, it would be adopted by one or more MPs, who would then table it for discussion in committee.

Proposals filed in this way will be uploaded to an online platform, which is to be created. For instance, if a proposal fails the legal vetting, it will still get published on the platform, along with the reasons for it being rejected for consideration.

Erotokritou gave a hypothetical example: “If, say, someone proposes a salary raise of 100 per cent for everyone, then obviously it would be dismissed.”

The bill allowing for this process was introduced by Erotokritou herself in the autumn of 2022.

“Sometimes the public is more attuned to what’s out there, what needs to change, than either the government or parliament,” she said.

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