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28 May, 2024
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Institutions are testing the resilience of Cypriot society

Lack of accountability and safeguards undermine faith in institutions


In the midst of an institutional crisis that increasingly threatens societal values and democratic functions, the individual attitudes of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities leave much to be desired. Society seems to have have lost much of its confidence in the operations of state institutions. In fact citizens are passionately debating these issues decrying that those responsible for the economic crisis have not been held accountable for their actions. Accordingly people believe that omissions by state institutions contributed to the economic collapse.

A lot of ink has been spilled about the manner with which the Attorney General Costas Clerides has been boycotting media outlets that have criticized him in the past. Be that as it may, society has been calling for justice and the recent acquittal of former Bank of Cyprus CEO by the Supreme Court does not bode well for – constitutionally- the second most powerful man in Cyprus.

In unison, critique was raised about the behaviour of the Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides in that his Office has effectively stepped into policy-making territory as opposed to post facto audit mandated by law -the new Polis to Paphos road was preemptively cancelled after a letter to the Minister of Finance.

Moreover the absence from the public sphere of the Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji and her deafening silence during the discussion about the future of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank raised eyebrows as the bank was eventually absorbed by Hellenic Bank.

A pattern emerges then; who watches the watchers? How does the President himself decide who is fit to lead an independent state body? How can accountability be maintained and enforced in that process? It becomes evident that we need to start an urgent dialogue on how to reform government structures so that institutions can work efficiently and effectively for the benefit of the people.

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