Insider Economy Foreclosures bill could be referred to Supreme Court

Foreclosures bill could be referred to Supreme Court

A lot of behind the scenes talk is currently taking place among parliamentary party leaders following President Nicos Anastasiades’ referral to the House of the two new foreclosures bills aiming to slow down the process.

Whether parliament withdraws the bills or not will be decided on Monday, at an extraordinary plenary session. And all eyes are now turned on opposition centre Diko whose vote is crucial for the final outcome.

The executive bureau of the island’s third largest party is meeting tomorrow to take a stand on this issue with insiders saying they are divided.

Other opposition parties such as left-wing Akel, the Greens, Solidarity Movement and Citizens Alliance have made clear they won’t accept the President’s referral.

Should parliament decide to not accept the President’s referral and scrap the bills, he has the prerogative to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for adjudication.

The Attorney-General has found that the two bills are in breach of several articles of the constitution – including the right to freely enter into a contract, the right to enjoy one’s property, and equality before the law.

A referral to the Supreme Court means that existing legislation will remain in place for several months – something which is appealing to both the government and commercial banks.

President Anastasiades yesterday sent two letters to parliament underlining that the bills have been found to be unconstitutional, and again urged MPs to withdraw them as they could cause serious damage to the economy.

At the same time, the House expects a letter from the Attorney General elaborating on the bills’ legal and constitutional aspects that MPs should seriously take into consideration.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and Demetris Georgiades, head of the Fiscal Council, yesterday told a joint press conference that the fact foreclosures regulations are now stuck in limbo causes uncertainty in the market. And that this implies potential adverse consequences on the entire economy.

Insiders said the government hopes for an alliance with Diko even though they are aware of the split positions on the issue within the party.

Some Diko MPs had supported the idea of postponing the passage of the bills until after September, giving some time to the Estia debt relief scheme for homeowners to kick in.

But Diko vice chairman Alecos Tryfonides yesterday insisted the bills should stand.


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