Nationalist party ELAM will preside over the newly-formed Census House committee in the Republic of Cyprus, after a recent disagreement between the two largest parties was ultimately resolved in what media pundits described as a solution based on "Solomon’s judgment."
The Selection House Committee was given the green light on Thursday afternoon during the first session of the new parliament, which was presided by House Speaker Annita Demetriou, the first ever woman to hold such as position since the founding of the Republic in 1960.
The Speaker of the House, who chose her first words to pay tribute to past members who recently passed away, also designated a Serjeant at Arms hailing from centre opposition party DIKO as well as two administrative clerks, one from her own party and the other from AKEL. Demetriou had served as clerk during her previous term in parliament.
Demetriou was elected Speaker last week by her own conservative ruling party DISY, as well as DIPA democrats and ELAM nationalists, in what had been described as a last minute upset that blocked any chairmanship hopes for communist opposition party AKEL.
The communist party was also vehemently opposed to ELAM chairing any committees, citing 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.
AKEL was against the upgrading of a subcommittee to ad hoc status but the final decision meant ELAM would preside over a newly-formed committee
Prior to the compromise, DISY had argued in favor of smaller parties each presiding over a committee in the House, while AKEL cited regulations that said only parties over a certain threshold could chair committees or they could decide if they wish to forfeit such a right to benefit a smaller party.
AKEL in the end decided not to preside over an environment committee, thus allowing the much smaller Green party to take the chair, while also noting its disagreement over upgrading a subcommittee to ad hoc status that would enable ELAM presiding over a newly-formed committee.
The nationalist party, which accused AKEL of trying to exclude the nationalist party from taking part in democratic procedures, ended up getting the chairmanship of the census committee.
ELAM president Christos Christou said his party, through its leadership role in the census committee, would focus mainly on the migration question but also address another issue pertaining to large families.
DIKO, which also did not favor ELAM chairing a committee, recently stopped short of blocking the nationalist party, siding with DISY that argued for the need to uphold democratic values and respect the electorate by setting ideological differences aside.
DISY got five chairs including foreign affairs, commerce, health, legal, and ethics committees.
AKEL also got five chairs including interior affairs, labor, displaced persons, agriculture, and human rights.
DIKO got three chairs - finance, expenditure control, and education - while smaller parties besides ELAM and the Greens also got one each, with defense going to socialist EDEK and transport going to DIPA.
The House Selection Committee is expected to hold a session on Friday morning to declare the chairpersons in each committee.