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12° Nicosia,
23 September, 2021
 
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Defense committee on hold over ELAM spot

Cyprus' nationalist party president blackballed by committee chairman who wants House Speaker to step in

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The chairman of the House Defense Committee in the Republic of Cyprus has blackballed the head of the nationalist party, saying he wants to the matter resolved before he can convene the first meeting.

Socialist party EDEK president Marinos Sizopoulos has formally asked newly-elected House Speaker Annita Demetriou to clear up a committee formation issue before he can preside over a Defense Committee meeting.

Sizopoulos says he is against the notion that ELAM president Christos Christou would be sitting on the House Defense Committee.

“I believe someone who never served in the National Guard but served as a security detail for a president of a criminal organization in Greece cannot be a member of the Defense Committee,” Sizopoulos said.

'I made my disagreement clear and I submitted a letter to the House Speaker who is chairing the Selection Committee, and I have asked for a replacement'

The chairman, who was referring to Christou’s past involvement with Golden Dawn, an ultranationalist party that was outlawed in Greece, also said he had called for a replacement before the committee could hold its first session.

Reports said an initial meeting of the Defense Committee had to be postponed over the issue, with Sizopoulos throwing the ball in Demetriou’s corner.

“I have stated my objection during a full House session last Thursday when all the names were put forth for approval. I made my disagreement clear and I submitted a letter to the House Speaker who is chairing the Selection Committee, and I have asked for a replacement,” Sizopoulos said.

ELAM, along with DIPA democrats, made significant gains during last month’s parliamentary elections, with the two parties maneuvering during speakership election in a deeply divided House to give its presidency to DISY’s Demetriou.

A newly-formed ad hoc Census House committee dealing with demographic issues went to ELAM during the selection process two weeks ago, after disagreement between the two largest parties, conservative DISY and community AKEL, was ultimately resolved by turning raising a subcommittee to ad-hoc status.

AKEL was vehemently opposed to ELAM chairing any committees, citing small-party House regulations that could keep the nationalist party at bay, but Demetriou pointed out that a compromise had been reached in the end through the Selection Committee.

Christou, who accused AKEL of trying to exclude ELAM from taking part in democratic procedures, said his party, through its leadership role in the census committee, would focus mainly on the migration question.

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