Parliament on Friday unanimously rejected a law proposed by President Nikos Christodoulides which would have allowed the police chief of the day to unilaterally appoint and promote specialist staff regardless of their qualifications.

Instead, the legislation they sent back to Christodoulides allows the police chief to appoint specialist staff under certain conditions and upon the approval of the justice minister of the day.

Christodoulides had sent the legislation back to parliament after he had deemed the initial amendments made by them to be both unconstitutional and to “fundamentally disrupt the legal and jurisdictional structure of the law”.

The government argues that parliament’s version of the law is unconstitutional as they see that it violates Article 80 of the constitution, which in its second annex states that “no legislation relating to an increase in budgetary expenditure can be introduced by any MP.”

Christodoulides said the appointments process tabled by parliament lead to increased budgetary expenditure, thus violating the constitution.

He also cited that parliament in its version of the legislation “usurped the powers of the executive, which is the arm of government responsible for deciding on appointments of members of the police force”.

Despite these assertions, independent MP Kostis Efstathiou was less than convinced, saying there were “issues” with Christodoulides’ version.

He said the law Christodoulides proposed was “an attempt to have equal treatment of people who have an education and a title which cost hundreds of thousands” alongside those who do not have the same qualifications.

This, he said, “does not promote the principle of equality, but diminishes it”.

He added that the idea that parliament cannot legislate and take the initiative on matters impacting legislative power is “reminiscent of the colonial legislative council whose sole duty was to vote on the governor’s bills”.

“Such a thing cannot be done in a democracy. No one can deprive parliament of its right to legislate on all matters,” he added.

Christodoulides’ version had on Wednesday been rejected by the House legal committee, with Efstathiou then saying that accepting Christodoulides’ position “would put democracy itself at risk”.