Semi-state organisations are not an ‘AKEL-ocracy’
NO MAJOR changes marked yesterday’s appointment by the Cabinet of the new boards of semi-governmental organisations (SGOs) – but whether the appointees keep their jobs beyond next March is another matter.
By and large, the postings at the 16 SGOs amounted to the re-appointment of existing board members. One of the main exceptions was the appointment of new people chairing the boards of the Cyprus Theatre Organisation and the Wine Products Council.
The chairmen at the following SGO’s were re-appointed: Cyprus State Fairs Authority, Ports Authority, Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, Cyprus Sports Organisation, Cyprus Land Development Corporation, Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, and Cyprus News Agency.
But another battle for the SGOs – often described as dens of government nepotism – looms.
Back in June, parliament passed a law – sponsored by main opposition DISY - limiting the term board members could serve to 30 months, with a possibility for a single re-appointment. In addition, it stipulated that currently serving board members would be replaced in March 2013 – coinciding with the presidential elections.
Currently, board members serve 36-month terms.
DISY argued the new arrangement would make it possible for an administration to work smoothly with SGOs that are appointed by it, without any remnants from previous boards who might be less than zealous in enforcing government policy.
An administration’s term in office is five years, or 60 months. Under the DISY-inspired law, that would align perfectly with the 30-month term for SGO boards, times two.
But the move drew an angry reaction from AKEL; the ruling party said DISY was manoeuvring to wrest total control of the SGOs should it win next year’s general elections. It said moreover that the new law would make it easier for DISY to achieve its long-standing ‘neo-liberal’ goal of ‘privatising’ and ‘selling out’ the SGOs.
The President subsequently refused to sign the law, and has referred it to the Supreme Court. That means the board members appointed (or re-appointed) yesterday will serve another 36 months, unless the top court upholds the new legislation – in which case they will find themselves out of a job come March.
Speaking to newsmen after the Cabinet meeting ratifying the appointments, President Christofias dismissed the notion that so-called ‘AKEL-ocracy’ permeates the composition of the SGOs.
However an apparent technical foul-up left the government egg-faced yesterday.
The lists of the new board members were released to reporters late in the afternoon. But in addition to this list, it appears that some media outlets were also sent the list of the previous boards.
In one such list that Sigmalive got hold of, in addition to the names of the previous board members, the list identifies their political party affiliation – DISY, DIKO, EDEK, AKEL and so on. Moreover, the list of previous board members included comments next to some of the names.
So, for example, one board member identified as an AKEL supporter is said to “not have shown interest for a long period of time, did not show up, but when needed he follows the party.”
Other descriptions of persons included “positive,” “negative,” and “supportive.”
The comments for one board member on the CyBC read: “Not many terms.” The man is identified as an AKEL supporter.
(Source: Cyprus Mail)
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