Interior Minister Nicos Nouris is calling for local government reform to be decided by voters during parliamentary elections, citing his frustration over a long and protracted debate on the issue.
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According to the Cyprus News Agency, Nouris has proposed a referendum where a government-sponsored bill on local government reform would be subject to a vote during parliamentary elections in May.
Citizens should be asked whether local government reform ought to move forward, while respecting the views of political parties and at the same time streamlining the process
The interior minister spoke against a decision by a majority of members in a House interior committee, who called for the reform bill to be decided in a separate referendum after MPs would have voted on the bill.
Nouris went on to say that he had consulted with Attorney General George Savvides, who expressed the view that a proposition law could not be put to the people in a referendum after the fact that it has been voted.
“Citizens should be asked whether local government reform ought to move forward, while respecting the views held by political parties, and at the same time streamlining a more economic process that ensures turnout,” Nouris said.
The interior minister has been fighting an uphill battle with opposition parties raising a number of issues as well as calling for changes in the bill, with the effort losing steam in recent months.
A big question is whether municipalities could merge their administrations together to cut down on expenses, with a number of districts weighing the pros and cons of the bill using their own local criteria.
Nouris says the proposition could go on a referendum on 30 May 2021, when parliamentary elections would also take place, citing a 1989 Referendum Law.