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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Christofias backs down on House controversy ]

Christofias backs down on House controversy

PRESIDENT of the House of Representatives and AKEL candidate Demetris Christofias has changed his mind about the alteration he made to the House’s service plan last week.

The admission of his error comes as an embarrassment, barely a fortnight before the presidential elections.

The change had to do with the procedure for the filling of the position of general director, prompted by the imminent premature retirement of general director Costakis Christoforou.

In one fell swoop, the change ruled out House Committees director Vasiliki Anastassiades from contesting the position, making the House’s International Relations director Socratis Socratous the sole viable candidate.

The alteration had caused the reaction of all the political parties (bar AKEL) and of the PASIDY civil service trade union.

In a statement made on Thursday, Christofias recanted the change after saying that he had had “second thoughts”.

He said that he did not intend to exclude anyone from contesting for the position, but wanted to use his discretionary powers to appoint Socratous as a temporary replacement for the position.

However, the changes in the service plan unwillingly extended to include the presumption that Socratous would be in the position permanently.

In defending the change last week, Christofias had ingenuously said: “I do not see anything wrong with what has happened.”

Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas commented on Christofias’ change of heart: “It is clear that he had violated the principles of equality before the law and of equality in citizenship, and broke the rules of competent governance.”

Palmas added that “although Christofias is correcting his mistake, we cannot overlook the fact that his decision to make the original change to the service plan was politically and legally inexcusable, as well as untimely.”

But AKEL MP Nicos Katsourides said Christofias had “displayed political courage.”

“It is his vital and absolute right, via the rules which outline the workings of the House, to act in such a way as to amend that which, through no fault of his own, prevented others from applying for the position.”

He added that those who spoke out against Christofias “should have been less vocal, since during their reign in the House or in government, such phenomena were ubiquitous.”
DIKO House representative Andreas Angelides, who had led the charge against Christofias last week, said that the decision to recant the change in the service plan was “a necessity”.

“It has not been wholly understood that the law is above everybody,” he added.

In an announcement, the Greens said that “an apology to the House is in order, since Christofias had exposed its reputation.”


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