Cyprus’ revised 2021 budget was approved by marginal majority on Thursday evening allowing the government to deal with the crucial economic fallout from the coronavirus situation.
The House plenum passed the budget with 29 votes in favour and 26 against after weeks of behind the scenes negotiations between opposition parties and the administration and ruling Disy.
The revised budget which provides for €7.16 billion in expenditure while projected revenues are €6.48 billion unlocks hundreds in millions earmarked for coronavirus relief to businesses and households.
The votes in favour came from ruling Disy (18 seats), Edek (three seats), the Citizens Alliance (one seat), Solidarity Movement (two seats), Elam (two seats) and the Cooperation of Democratic Forces (three seats).
Main Opposition Akel, centre Diko, the Greens and independent MP Anna Theologou voted against.
Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has thanked opposition parties for casting a positive vote repeating that Cyprus could have defaulted if the budget was rejected anew by parliament. Because it would have lost its investment grade rating, too.
The first bill was rejected in December after opposition Diko voted against it because the government refused to allow the Auditor-General to probe the island’s controversial and now banned citizenship for investment programme.
Diko had been voting for state budgets throughout the current administration’s term despite disagreement on other issues.