26 September 2023

CYPRUS: Call to ditch plan for Public Service MPs

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Cyprus’ Audit Office has called on politicians to ditch a proposal that would allow Public Servants to be elected as MPs without resigning from their posts, saying it would undermine efforts to combat corruption.

In a written statement, the Audit Office said it was with great surprise that it read about the intention of Parliament’s Institutions Committee to amend an article in the Constitution and abolish the incompatibility of the status of Public Servants with the status of Parliamentarians.

“If this were to be implemented it would be an unprecedented undermining of the effort to combat the phenomena of corruption and interference which the political parties profess to support,” the Audit Office said.

It said the amendment, which would allow Public Servants to become MPs and then return to their original Public Service position when their term ended, “would run counter to the Constitutional principle of the separation of the administrative function of the State from political power”.

“That separation has been described in many judicial decisions as fundamental and as defining the sphere of competence of political power on the one hand and that of the administration on the other,” it said.

“Political parties are cells of democracy and have an extremely important task to perform in ensuring the democratic functioning of the State, but they ought to stay away from the administrative functioning of the State.”

The Audit Office said any interference of political power with the administrative functioning of the State would constitute a component of corruption and would undermine the citizens’ confidence in the State, which is expected to be politically neutral.

In addition, there would be issues of functionality, especially in the case of higher positions that might have to remain vacant for years.

Nicosia, 3 April 2022

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