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Growing tension between govt and parliament

31/12/2014 13:06
Relations between the Cypriot executive and the legislative branches reached new lows in 2014, as the government struggled to push through the parliament bills related to the troika-sponsored adjustment program.

The row over the foreclosures bill, which has been going on for months, signals the obstacles the government will face in 2015 as it tries to implement memorandum-related reforms.

Tension between the president and the parliament can be gauged by the number of bills sent by the executive back to the legislature and by the number of private bills tabled by legislators.

The growing «legislative activism» prompted the previous president Demetris Christofias who came from the ranks of the communist party to state in 2010 that the parliament gradually becomes more of a governing body.

He made this statement amid the continuous interventions of the then opposition parties tabling private bills to curb public expenditures.

In Cyprus’s presidential system, the incumbent center-right government faces a similar situation, having lost its parliamentary majority only a year into Nicos Anastasiades’s five-year term.

This year's main conflict point was the foreclosures law which although voted for from the majority of the parliament remains inactive as a number of related regulations (by -laws) needs to be ratified.

At the same time the opposition parties proposed a number of bills related to the insolvency law in an effort to protect debtors, especially small ones.

The issue still constitutes a major source of conflict as the parliament voted for the suspension of the foreclosures law until January 30 while the president expressed his intention to send back the new law to the parliament by January 8.

Overall, this year the president refused to sign and sent back to the parliament five legislative bills compared to 30 that the previous president had sent back in his five-year term.

Anastasiades referred another four legislative bills to the Supreme Court.

It is expected that the conflict will carry on for some time as members of the opposition stated that they will keep delaying the implementation of the law till the entire framework of the insolvency law is clear.

In 2015, the government is likely to face continued legislative activism. In 2014, legislators tabled 115 private bills, compared to 136 in 2013 and 120 in 2012.