Cyprus’s Anastasiades fails to get 2021 Budget approved

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For the first time in 60 years, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has failed to secure approval for his government’s 2021 budget.

A total of 29 lawmakers voted against the budget and 24 in favour, said Parliament Speaker Adamos Adamou. Anastasiades’s ruling center-right Disy party lacks a majority in parliament.

Shortly after the Parliament voted against the Budget, President Anastasiadis issued a written statement.

“I fully understand and respect the positions of the parties, which, either as a result of a different economic view, or individual views on policy areas, have taken a negative stance in approving the state budget,” Anastasiadis wrote.

© AFP 2020 / Petros Karadjias / POOL

“But what I do not understand is the negative vote of the Democratic Party, which is trying to blackmail the legally elected government and neutralize other independent institutions.”

“The current behaviour of the Democratic Party does not serve the presumed goal, nor the well-understood interests of our society, which under the unprecedented conditions we are experiencing today, has the absolute need to support the State.”

Cyprus ended its so-called golden passport program on Nov. 1, citing longstanding weaknesses and abuses.

The Cypriot parliament’s speaker Demetris Syllouris resigned in October, after an Al Jazeera report caught him on video offering to help a fictitious Chinese businessman with a criminal record attain citizenship. Jho Low, a Malaysian linked to the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, was among the beneficiaries of the program offering citizenship to foreign investors.

Opposition lawmakers had demanded that the state auditor office investigate all cases where Cyprus passports were issued under the program. The government declined to do so on advice from the country’s attorney general, who has already appointed a committee to examine the program.

Lawmakers approved stopgap legislation after the budget vote so that the government can make payments in January 2021 to avoid a shut down. Anastasiades’ administration can also resubmit the budget with changes for another vote at a later date.

Sourced By: Bloomberg/The Greek Herald

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