The House plenary has approved on Saturday by majority vote the foreclosures framework, during a special session and following a long debate. The parliamentary parties voted in favour of the foreclosures bills with a majority of 33 votes in favour in some cases and more positive votes in other cases.
The insolvency framework went through parliament following consultations between the Socialist party EDEK and the European Party with the ruling right wing Democratic Rally party and the government.
The insolvency legislation comprises a set of laws which govern bankruptcy procedures. The House voted last December to suspend implementation of strict foreclosure rules, a decision which was renewed until April 17.
The President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has welcomed the approval by the House of Representatives of the foreclosures bill, pointing out that this will help government efforts to return to international markets.
The decision, he notes, was taken in a spirit of responsibility and collective action, for the benefit of society at large.
Expressing “warmest thanks” to the Presidents of the three parliamentary parties which backed the bill (DISY, DIKO and Socialist EDEK) and their respective MPs, he said at the same time that he would not wish to sideline the stance adopted by the rest of the parties which have contributed to the final draft of the bill, even though they voted against it.
“The law approved today by the House is the outcome of hard and painstaking effort by the government with the cooperation of experts from the parliamentary parties which responded to the government`s call, by the amendments to the bill to secure even further the rights of vulnerable groups of society as well as by hard negotiations with our lenders,” the President says in a written statement, issued here today.
It is obvious from the final text of the legislation and statements made by the majority of the parliamentary parties that the legislation on foreclosures provides “sufficient protection to vulnerable groups and at the same time it rectifies an anomaly which was being exploited by some, who are in a position to meet their responsibilities but are exploiting the existing system.”
“Today’s decision by the House of Representatives, in addition to other considerations, strengthens the government’s effort to return to the international markets and consequently become fully independent of our lenders. It also allows us to participate in the European Central Bank programme and it paves the way for the disbursement of the next tranche” of Cyprus’ loan from the Troika (ECB, IMF and EU Commission),” the President stresses.
The government, he concludes in his statement, believes that only through a collective spirit, which society is also demanding, will Cyprus manage not to be accountable to commitments emanating from the country’s adjustment programme, agreed with its international lenders, and through everybody’s cooperation to rid the country of such obligations as soon as possible.
Prior to the approval of the five bills on foreclosures and of regulations for advisors on insolvency matters, the House had voted in amendments to the bills tabled by centre right Democratic Party (DIKO) and the Socialist EDEK part. EDEK’s amendments were approved either unanimously or with one abstention by the Citizen’s Alliance MP. DIKO amendments were approved by 36 votes in favour and 20 abstentions of the main opposition leftwing party AKEL and the European Party.
The main opposition AKEL party voted against all the proposed bills.
The first and the second bill, which relate to the special execution and the mechanisms to settle non performing loans of natural persons, were approved with 33 votes in favour (ruling rightwing Democratic Rally DISY, DIKO and EDEK) and 23 against. The House is made up of 56 MPs.
The bills governing companies which cannot repay their loans got a positive vote from 34 MPs (DISY, DIKO, EDEK and Environmentalists party) and 22 against.
The fifth bill which concerns bankruptcy was approved with 33 votes in favour and 23 against.
The bill on advisors who will help people with regard to non performing loans was voted in with 35 MPs for, 19 against (AKEL) and two abstentions (European Party and independent Zaharias Koulias). The accompanying regulations were approved with 35 votes in favour and 21 against (AKEL, European Party and Koulias).