Interview with Giorgos Loukaides, AKEL Political Bureau member and Parliamentary Leader
● Progressive change with A. Mavroyiannis or continuation of the Anastasiades-DISY government
● AKEL’s Parliamentary Group was instrumental in the adoption of many important bills
● Those voting for Averof Neophytou and Nikos Christodoulides vote for Anastasiades and ensure the continuation of his government
● The philosophy and credibility of candidates should be the criterion for selection in the presidential elections
1 January 2023, “Haravgi” newspaper
QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the most important bills that were passed by Parliament with proposals tabled by or with AKEL’s contribution?
GL: This year, AKEL’s Parliamentary Group again had a rich and multi-faceted activity, seeking to contribute by submitting serious and feasible proposals to reforms and changes needed by society, always with a progressive content, as well as to solve long-standing problems plaguing citizens.
Summarising some of the most important legislation approved in 2022 by Parliament, AKEL’s Parliamentary Group contributed decisively towards the adoption of bills concerning local government reform, the reform of the judiciary and family law, the establishment of the independent Anti-Corruption Authority, the regulation of lobbying, the creation of the new occupational pension benefits scheme in the civil service, the imposition of a levy on the sale of real estate and shares and the transfer of the amount to the Central Body for Equal Burden Sharing, the modernisation of the legislative framework for paid parental leave and several others.
At the same time, the draft bill proposals tabled, co-signed or supported by AKEL, which were voted through by the Plenary of Parliament, concerning, for example, the protection of victims of crime, the extension of the targeted suspension of foreclosures, the improvement of the legislative framework for the imposition of a cap on fuel, the provision of sex education programmes in schools, the extension of the period of time within which the right to paternity leave can be exercised were also important.
AKEL also submitted numerous other legislative proposals to combat poverty, such as the reduction of VAT on electricity from 19% to 9% and the abolition of double taxation on fuel, which were voted through by Parliament, but unfortunately the President of the Republic referred them to the Supreme Court.
The recent resolution approved to honor the fighters of the democratic anti-fascist resistance is also of historic importance for the preservation of the historical truth from the ongoing campaign of falsification.
Similarly, the AKEL Parliamentary Group has played a leading role in the efforts to exercise parliamentary scrutiny over many serious issues for which the government has been forced to account to society, through the initiatives we have taken through parliamentary procedures.
This concerned scandals such as those of the “golden” passports, the black spy van, the dissolution of the Cyprus Co-operative Bank and others, as well as regarding actions and omissions of the outgoing government in policy areas that concern and have a decisive impact on the daily life of citizens, such as the safeguarding of working people’s rights, consumer rights, the protection of public education, addressing the serious problems in the public health sector, environmental protection – which we achieved, for example, by rejecting the draft law on glamping – and so on.
QUESTION: President Anastasiades mentioned several of the bills that Parliament has approved after amendments. Do you consider this practice as an insult to Parliament?
GL: First of all, we should make it clear that referrals of legislation to the Supreme Court, is an inalienable constitutional right of the President. This right has been exercised by all Presidents of the Republic over the past decades. Under the outgoing President, however, this right has been abused. Both quantitatively and in terms of the grounds for referral, in particular, given that in several cases the referral was decided to serve political considerations/expediencies and not for reasons of unconstitutionality.
I believe that the explanation for this phenomenon must be attributed to the authoritarianism of the outgoing government on the one hand and to its ideological obsession on serving specific interests on the other. I am referring, of course, to the interests of a very small privileged group belonging to the economic oligarchy of country.
QUESTION: To implement his policy, a President of the Republic must have a majority in Parliament in one way or another. The three main candidates do not have that. How will government policy be implemented?
GL: I think it is premature to estimate that there will not be a parliamentary majority in the next government, since the situation in the first round of the election may be reversed between the first and second round.
In any case, even if a government were to emerge with a minority in the House of Representatives, which is a real possibility, this would not be the first time this has happened. On the contrary, it has happened many times before.
These are therefore the main characteristics that the country’s government must possess and which should be taken seriously into account by citizens in view of the forthcoming presidential elections. These relate to the philosophy and political direction of governance. The credibility of the presidential candidates themselves. The need for clear and unequivocal positions to be expressed by them all on all key issues. Coherence between the parties supporting a candidate, but also between the parties and the candidate himself. Other than that, in a similar environment, it is important that there is a spirit of consensus and accountability, first and foremost on the part of the given government ruling forces and, of course, on the part of the opposition.
QUESTION: Do you think that essential issues have been discussed so far during the election campaign? And what needs to be discussed in the period up to the elections?
GL: All the essential issues have been raised in the public debate, in one way or another. What is missing is a substantive discussion of them in depth and in detail. For example, there is a complete absence of evening debates in the media with a thematic content to which representatives of the candidates’ campaign teams and/or party representatives could have been invited. Even state-owned RIK broadcasting corporation refuses to organise such TV debates. Such a practice would, I believe, help to highlight more clearly the main political challenges and the specific issues at stake in the forthcoming presidential elections. That is what is at stake and that is what everyone should be focused on.
As far as AKEL is concerned, we reiterate that in these elections there are two options before us. Namely, the continuation of the Anastasiades-DISY government, which has brought so much suffering to the country and our people, with one of the two candidates of the outgoing government, or the progressive change in the governance of the country with Andreas Mavroyiannis.
Those who want to continue with one of the same and/or worse of what we have been living with for the last decade have a plurality of choices. Whether they vote for Averof Neophytou or whether they vote for Nikos Christodoulides, they are voting for Anastasiades and ensuring the continuation of his rule.
Those who judge negatively and are disappointed with this governance, those who want and seek to change the course, manner and ethos of our country’s governance, those who want and seek to restore credibility and dignity to our people and country, vote Andreas Mavroyiannis.

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