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21 October, 2020
 
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House Speaker resigns over passport scandal

Cypriot president of parliament steps down citing political exploitation, says he did not break the law

Newsroom

House Speaker Demetris Syllouris resigned on Thursday following public outcry over his involvement in a golden passport scandal exposed by Al Jazeera news network.

(Click here for an update to the story)

President Anastasiades, who is currently in Brussels, reportedly made it very clear that he also expected Syllouris to resign

Syllouris’ resignation came under immense pressure from fellow parliamentarians as well as members of the public, who protested on Wednesday against corruption.

Chaotic political developments have been unraveling quickly since Monday, when Al Jazeera published its latest video in a series of damning investigative reports into systemic failures and alleged corruption involving Cyprus' Passport by Investment Programme.

Reports said political leaders were scheduled to meet and discuss about Syllouris, who was initially refusing to resign but said he would abstain from duties.

Local media said ruling party president Averof Neophytou rushed to parliament in a hurry minutes before the announcement was made public, around 11am. Additional media said President Anastasiades, who is currently in Brussels, made it very clear that he also expected Syllouris to resign.

In his resignation letter, Syllouris wrote he initially refused to resign saying he did not believe he did anything illegal.

But his final decision, he said, was made because “others were trying to exploit the situation for political gain.”

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