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16 June, 2024
 
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Committee reviews proposal to limit benefits for former officials

Alexandra Attalides calls for limitation while Annita Demetriou calls for complete abolition of ex-official's benefits

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The Parliament's Institutional Committee has deliberated on a legislative proposal by MP Alexandra Attalides, suggesting a time limit of five years for certain benefits granted to former Presidents of the Republic and Speakers of the House of Representatives. The proposal aims to redefine the entitlement period for benefits, including the secretary's employment allowance and the use of a state vehicle.

Attalides' proposal suggests restricting the secretary's employment allowance and the period of entitlement to a vehicle to five years. The MP recommends that the Republic directly covers the secretary's salary, based on a private law employment contract equivalent to the A2-5-7 scale, replacing the current €3,000 monthly allowance. Furthermore, Attalides proposes that security measures, if requested, should be subject to a Cabinet decision, specifying duration and requiring periodic reassessment.

During the Committee discussion, Speaker of the Parliament, Annita Demetriou, expressed her intention to submit a similar legislative proposal, advocating for the abolition of lifelong benefits. She proposes terminating the lifetime concession of a state vehicle, introducing a termination date, and advocating for a re-evaluation clause every five years. Demetriou also suggests that police-recommended security measures be approved, and secretarial allowances be granted transparently, focusing on recording and preserving the achievements of former officials.

Committee Chairman, Demetris Demetriou, stated that Parliamentary Services are preparing a survey on benefits in force in other EU member states. The issue of providing police guards was discussed, emphasizing the need for security reasons. The Deputy Minister of State, Irene Piki, called for a comprehensive examination of benefits, highlighting the importance of accountability and modernization.

Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides stressed that legislation cannot dictate former officials' application for protection from the Minister of Justice, as it falls under the police's purview. He called for transparency in secretarial allowances, requesting a list of names to ensure proper fund usage.

In reaction to the discussion, AKEL MP Irini Charalambidou advocated aligning Cyprus with European standards, emphasizing accountability and transparency. DISY MP Nikos Georgiou highlighted the protocol's significance for former Presidents and Speakers, calling for rationalization without leveling. DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias expressed opposition, stating the issue lies beyond secretarial benefits.

MP Marinos Mousiuttas proposed establishing a joint executive-legislative committee to examine all official benefits. Ecologist Movement MP Stavros Papadouris emphasized the need to abolish unjustified benefits.

Independent MP Andreas Themistocleous argued for dignified entitlements, citing the heavy secretarial workload for former officials and emphasizing distinctions based on prestige and substance.

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