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New municipalities and political alisverisi: Where do the parties agree and disagree on the reform?

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New municipalities and political alisverisi: Where do the parties agree and disagree on the reform?

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Michalis Chatzistylianou – Panagiotis Chatziapostolou

At tomorrow's session of the parliamentary committee of the Interior, which is the last for the reform of the Local Government, the parties will try to bridge their differences on the hot issues concerning the union of municipalities and communities, the holding of referendums and the election of deputy mayors. In an atmosphere of understanding and mutual understanding, the parliamentary parties reached an agreement on individual issues and left the difficult ones for the end. No agreement is expected on the number of new municipalities and mergers at tomorrow's meeting of the Home Affairs Committee. As can be seen from the statements of the representatives of the parties in “P” that we quote as they are below, the number of new municipalities seems to be locked between 17 and 20, with the behind-the-scenes processes, discussions and fermentation in full swing and will peak as we approach on February 24, the day on which the reform bills will be put before the plenary session of the Parliament for a vote. In the meantime, it will become clear whether the parties and their representatives really mean what they are publicly declaring, that they will work with both sides to make concessions if necessary, in order to achieve the best possible result for the citizens, and will not indulge in political and partisan aims. benefits. Will they act for the good of the citizens or will they serve their own interests?

AKEL: The balance is maintained with 20 municipalities

AKEL's position through its MP and chairman of the Parliamentary Interior Committee, Mr. Aristos Damianos, is as follows: “It is true that the discussion regarding the reform of the Local Government focused on the issue of the number of municipalities. This was to be expected. But reform is just as important, if not more so. Because, at stake – and this is what we have been trying to achieve all this time – is to create a new, modern institutional framework for the local government that responds to the challenges and needs of society, of citizens. An effective local government that approaches what is rightly referred to abroad as “local government”. At the moment, the scenario that is largely reflected in the bill and which, in one way or another, will change, refers to 20 municipalities. It will change, because there are amendments for 14, 17, 20 and 21 municipalities, not necessarily the ones I will mention. We believe that the number 20 maintains the necessary social, economic and geographical balance. There are also political criteria, which we believe should not be overlooked. For example, the semi-occupied Municipalities of Athenaeum and Deryneia cannot be judged dogmatically by the same criteria as the rest. We suggest the following:

In the province of Nicosia we have the homonymous municipality, as well as the Municipalities of Strovolos, Lakatamia, Latsia – Geri and South Nicosia – Idali. Our suggestion is that Aglantzia be merged with the Municipality of Latsia – Gerio instead of Nicosia with the name Municipality of Athalassa. In the province of Limassol we have the homonymous municipality as well as the Municipalities of East Limassol, West Limassol and Polemidia.

In the province of Paphos we have the homonymous municipality, as well as the Municipalities of East Paphos, West Paphos and Polis Chrysochous. In the province of Larnaca we have the homonymous municipality, as well as the Municipalities of Dromolaxia – Meneou, Lefkara and Athienou.

In free Famagusta we have the Municipalities of Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Deryneia. I repeat the fluidity of the scenarios, but also our concern that the final scenarios take into account the balance that must exist between the communities, which will either be left out of merger scenarios with municipalities, or were not included in the clustering scenarios. That is, the reform must reach all local communities. Both in municipalities and communities. That is why we have made a special effort to enrich the Law on Communities. All citizens are entitled to an upgraded local government. What I want to emphasize is that our concern as AKEL is the substantial modernization of the structures, the procedures and the services provided.

With transparency and strengthening of good administration. That is why all this time we have been working hard in the Committee on Home Affairs to find convergences, to bridge differences, to submit proposals and to significantly enrich government bills. “

DIKO: 17 municipalities with plus / minus one with two

According to the parliamentary representative of DIKO Mr. Panikos Leonidou: “The voting of the three bills for the reform of Local Government is a non-negotiable goal for DIKO. The ultimate goal of all of us must be the preparation of such laws that will help at the end of the day the Local Government to be functional, productive, efficient and to follow transparent procedures. Regarding the number of municipalities, we consider that it does not matter so much whether they will be one or two more or less than the specified number of 17 introduced in the bill by the government. This is, after all, the opinion of the experts who undertook the studies on the reform. For us at DIKO, the way the institution exercises power is paramount. The ultimate goal is to give such responsibilities to the Local Government authorities in order to guarantee their right to financial and administrative independence. Regarding the mergers, DIKO has consulted with all the municipalities and communities and has come up with its own suggestions, which will be submitted at tomorrow's session of the parliamentary Committee on Interior. At the last meeting of the Committee on Interior (27/01/2022), which was held in an atmosphere of understanding and mutual understanding, we came up with many issues, which were either proposed as a party or tabled as amendments by the other parties. We as DIKO are very satisfied, since the majority of the Committee has adopted several of our proposals, which will be included in the final text that will be led to the plenary vote. Specifically, we are satisfied with the fact that our proposal for the creation of a municipal district in Agia Fyla has been adopted, while it seems that there is a positive approach to establishing an Independent Authority for Service Issues with responsibility for hiring, promoting and promoting municipal and community employees. It has been agreed by the Commission that the three bills for the reform of the Local Government will be brought to the plenary session on February 24 for a vote. We as DIKO are ready to cooperate with all parties and with concessions from both sides, if necessary, even on the issues where there are disagreements today, in order to reach the best possible result, as we have promised to the citizens. The goals and principles that DIKO had set from the very beginning remain clear and were expressed many times by the official lips of all its representatives. They aim to implement a reform with full democratic character, administrative and economic autonomy. “We will discuss with sobriety, understanding and cooperation in order to find consensual solutions to the outstanding issues and to deliver to the citizens a functional and effective legislation”.

EDEK: As few municipalities as possible

According to the spokesperson of EDEK, Mrs. Maria Panagiotou, “with the beginning of the discussion on the reform of the Local Government, EDEK defined the main axes on which the reform should move. Specifically: To lead to a reasonable reduction of the number of municipalities with rational consolidation. The final number of integrated municipalities to take into account local specificities with a view to integrated development. The aggregation of services to lead to an upgrade of the services offered, to a reduction of costs and to a reduction of the taxation to the citizens. The transfer of powers and responsibilities from the central state to the authorities of Local Government, to be done in a gradual and coordinated manner and after relevant preparation so that no problems are observed. The reform should lead to financial autonomy and independence of the local authorities from the respective executive power. The unification of municipalities imposes a unified system for the election of mayors, deputy mayors and municipal councilors. For EDEK, the aim is to have as few municipalities as possible. It is important to make a reasonable reduction in the basis of rational study so that there is relevance between the municipalities. That is, to have mergers between neighboring municipalities that have approximately the same characteristics and result in a reasonable size, in order to achieve economies of scale and functionality. It is therefore not a question of saying a specific number, but of defining the context in which this amalgamation will take place. For example, in free Famagusta it is clear that there must be two municipalities: Ayia Napa, Sotira, Liopetri and Paralimni, Deryneia, Frenaros. In the case of Limassol, we clearly prefer Polemidia to join Ypsonas in one municipality. In Nicosia we see the union of Engomi and Agios Dometios as one municipality, the other to be Aglantzia, Latsia and Geri and a third to be Strovolos, Lakatamia and Tseri “.

Ecologists: We asked for the establishment of Akama Municipality

According to the vice president of the Movement of Ecologists – Citizens' Cooperation, Mr. Efi Xanthou, “the Movement has been working for the strengthening of the local self-government authorities and has participated constructively in the processes for its reform. We have already achieved some very important changes in the final text of the three bills before the parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, such as the introduction of provisions for the protection and enhancement of urban greenery, the promotion of climate change mitigation measures, the removal of intervention beaches from municipalities and .a. However, many other issues are still pending. We submitted a proposal for the establishment of the Municipality of Akamas with the unification of the Municipality of Pegeia with the communities of Laona and we are positive in the unification of the Municipalities of Aglantzia, Latsia and Geri in the Municipality of Athalassa. We expect final proposals to be formulated before the Parliament for further mergers, in order to have the optimal framework that will promote the well-understood interest of the citizens and will ensure the quality of the services provided. However, we have serious doubts about the proposed framework for holding elections for the election of municipal councilors, as the proposed system will nominate representatives separately in each district, leading mathematically to municipal councils with members from only 2-3 political parties. We will continue to take an active part in the debate in the parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs and to help draft the final texts of the bills. We will fight for the adoption of control and transparency procedures, in order to improve both the accountability of local authorities and the transparency of decision-making processes at all levels. “Our position on the final framework of the reform will depend on how the proposed legislative framework is ultimately shaped.”

ELAM: We do not want impersonal superstructures

The position of ELAM, as expressed by the party's spokesman Mr. Geadis Geadis, is as follows: “The essence is not how many municipalities there should be, but how to serve the citizen in his daily life. At the same time, we are constantly emphasizing the need to preserve the philosophy of reform, but forgetting the purpose of Local Government, which is the easy, daily and direct access that citizens must have with their local officials. For us, as a faction, apart from the petty partisan expediencies of the rest, we are not trapped in pseudo-dilemmas, as the essence remains one: How to make municipalities functional and sustainable, but at the same time how to better serve the public interest. It is an inescapable need, as a legislature, to take special care not to create impersonal superstructures. On the contrary, we all recognize that the current situation is problematic, which is why radical changes are needed, which will relieve the Local Government from the burdens of bureaucracy and give them more power, so that they are more functional and beneficial to society. Weighing all the data we have before us and talking to the citizens, as well as to the local officials, as ELAM we submitted our own suggestions regarding the reform of the Local Government. At the same time, however, we will examine the proposals submitted by the other political areas, because as a party we are always open to proposals and suggestions from all political areas. However, we can not ignore the fact that, despite the opposite view of ELAM, the majority of parliamentary parties voted in favor of postponing the local government elections. However, after so many months, we see that the debate is still going on and the other parties are unprepared. That is why we, as a faction, stressed the need for the elections to be conducted normally, but unfortunately we were not listened to. In closing, we would like to emphasize that the reform of Local Government should not be done to serve the party mechanisms but the whole of society. That is what we will do with it. “

DIPA – Cooperation: Creation of 13 to 15 municipalities

 

The MP of DIPA-Cooperation, Mr. Marinos Mousiouttas, stated verbatim: “We have proposed with our amendment the creation of 13 – 15 municipalities, without of course considering this number as absolute. We believe that an important parameter in the creation of new municipalities should be the factor of sustainability, since the new municipalities will be called to provide more, better and cheaper services to all citizens. Based on the research of various experts sent by the Ministry of Interior, and taking into account geographical, economic, social and

other criteria, we came up with our proposal for the creation of the following municipalities: Nicosia District 4 to 5 municipalities:

  • Nicosia, Engomi, Agios Dometios and Aglantzia. Strovolos, Lakatamia, Tseri and Anthoupoli. Dali with surrounding communities. Geri and Latsia. Strovolos himself.
  • Limassol District 2 municipalities: Limassol, Mesa Geitonia, Polemidia and Ypsonas. Germasogeia, Agios Athanasios.
  • Larnaca Province 3 municipalities: Larnaca, Livadia, Aradippou and Dromolaxia-Meneou. Αθηαίνου. Λευκαρα.
  • Paphos Province 3 municipalities: Paphos, Geroskipou. Pegeia with surrounding communities. Chrysochous Town with surrounding communities.
  • Famagusta Province 1 or 2 municipalities: Paralimni, Deryneia, Ayia Napa, Sotira or Paralimni, Sotira with surrounding communities. Ayia Napa, Sotira, Liopetri.

We as DIPA-Cooperation support the creation of sustainable municipalities where citizens will have access to better and higher quality services. We believe that a smaller number of municipalities = better quality Local Government reform “.

17 municipalities or even less prefer a government – DISY

The position of the government is the creation of 17 municipalities, with the competent Minister of Interior Mr. Nikos Nouris discussing small additions and subtractions. According to Mr. Nouris, “the government's proposal, which is reflected through the relevant bills submitted to Parliament, is the result of long and intensive consultations with all stakeholders and is based on suggestions of a detailed feasibility study, which was conducted for the purpose. this. The aim is for each new entity to be distinguished from financial and administrative autonomy, but also to be sustainable, while providing better services to citizens, at the lowest possible cost. To make this possible, there must be the necessary population density. Through the studies of the experts and after many months of consultations, the scenario for a maximum of 17 new entities was selected. For the government, unification has never been an end in itself, but it is the necessary means to achieve our common goal. As I have explained in Parliament, we can discuss small additions and subtractions in the proposed scenario, especially if they relate to a further reduction in the number of entities. I want to hope that, as consensus and the intention to implement a sustainable self-governing model have prevailed all this time, the same will happen in this last stage until the passage of the bills. I personally invest in the responsibility of the parties with whom we co-decided to postpone the elections in order to achieve this great goal in favor of the citizens, so that, among other things, they reap the huge benefits of the Recovery and Resilience Fund and have better services at the lowest possible costs, with the savings being invested in the development of the local community itself “. For his part, DISY MP Mr. Nikos Sykas, who participates in the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs, told “P” the following: “DISY's philosophy is based on the studies that have been done and the scientific data on the viability of municipalities . DISY supports the creation of a maximum of 17 or fewer municipalities. In case for any reason more municipalities are preferred, then DISY is ready to make other modifications in order to protect the model of Local Government “. Specifically, the government and DISY propose the creation of the following municipalities:

  • 1 Municipality of Nicosia, consisting of the Municipalities of Nicosia, Strovolos, Agios Dometios, Engomi and Aglantzia.
  • 2 Municipality of Lakatamia, consisting of the Municipalities of Lakatamia, Tseri and the community settlement of Anthoupolis.
  • 3 Municipality of Latsia-Geri, consisting of the Municipalities of Latsia and Geri.
  • 4 Municipality of South Nicosia-Idali, consisting of the Municipality of Idali and the communities of Alhambra, Lympia, Nisos, Pera Chorio and Potamia.
  • 5 Municipality of Limassol, consisting of the Municipalities of Limassol and Mesa Geitonia.
  • 6 Municipality of Eastern Limassol, consisting of the Municipalities of Agios Athanasios, Germasogeia and the communities of Agios Tychonas, Mouttagiakas, Akrountas, Finikaria, Armenochori and Mathikoloni.
  • 7 Municipality of Polemidia, consisting of the Municipality of Kato Polemidia and the community of Ano Polemidia.
  • 8 Municipality of West Limassol, consisting of the Municipality of Ypsonas and the communities of Asomatos, Sotiras, Erimi, Kolossi, Trachoni, Akrotiri, Episkopi and Kantou.
  • 9 Municipality of Larnaca, consisting of the Municipalities of Larnaca, Aradippou, Livadia and the community of Oroklini.
  • 10 Municipality of Meneos-Dromolaxia, consisting of the Municipalities of Dromolaxia, Meneos and the communities of Kiti, Pervolia and Tersefanos.
  • 11 Municipality of Lefkara, consisting of the Municipality of Lefkara and the communities of Vavla, Delikipou, Kato Dry, Kato Lefkara and Kornos.
  • 12Ministry of Athienos, consisting of the Municipality of Athienos and the community of Avdelleros.
  • 13 Municipality of Paphos, consisting of the Municipalities of Paphos, Geroskipou and the communities of Achelia, Timi and Konia.
  • 14 Municipality of West Paphos, consisting of the Municipality of Pegeia and the communities of Emba, Lemba, Kissonerga and Chloraka.
  • 15 Municipality of Polis Chrysochou, consisting of the Municipality of Polis Chrysochous and the communities of Argaka, Makounta, Chrysochous, Goudi, Pelathousa, Kinousa and Peristerona.
  • 16 Municipality of Paralimni – Ayia Napa, consisting of the Municipalities of Ayia Napa, Paralimni, Deryneia and Sotira.
  • 17 Municipality of Kokkinochoria, consisting of the communities of Avgoros, Liopetri, Frenaros, Acheritos and Achnas

Source: politis.com.cy

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