Arab Today, arab today cyprus\ government to submit amended privatisation bill to parliament
Last Updated : GMT 15:00:34
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Cyprus\' government to submit amended privatisation bill to parliament

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Cyprus\' government to submit amended privatisation bill to parliament

Nicosia - XINHUA

The Cypriot government said on Friday it will send to parliament an amended law regulating the privatization of state owned utilities after the original one was turned down in a hung vote on Thursday night. The 25-25 vote in parliament sent into disarray the island's bailout program agreed with the Euro group and the International Monetary Fund almost a year ago. Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said new clauses in the law take care of union concerns over employment and pension rights of the employees of the three main state owned enterprises slated for privatization which are telecommunications, electricity and ports. The leader of the main government party Democratic Rally (DISY), Averof Neophytou, asked parliament to re-convene in an emergency session to pass the legislation. He said Cyprus risked losing whatever it has achieved in a year of harsh austerity. But Stylianides said it was not yet clear when parliament will meet. "We hope this will be done as soon as possible," said Stylianides after an extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers, the last on in its present composition. The cabinet will be reshuffled within 15 days after the breakup of the coalition government. The Democratic Party (DIKO), the junior party of the ruling coalition, decided by a slim majority on Thursday to quit. It claimed that a document which served as the basis for the resumption of negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for the island's reunification made too many concessions to the Turkish Cypriot side. The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities resumed reunification negotiations on Feb. 11 since they stopped in 2012. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and controlled the north of Cyprus following a coup on the island by some Greek military officers. The rejection of the privatization bill, mostly due to internal bickering of the eight lawmakers of the Democratic Party, the former government partner, over its pull out from the government, jeopardized the release of the next tranche of a 10-billion bailout loan. Approval of the privatization bill is mandatory for the release of the money, due to be decided by the Euro group on March 10. Cyprus received three positive evaluations of its economic adjustment program in the first 11 months of its application but failure to pass the bill in time may plunge it back into fiscal uncertainty. Sources said the parliament may be convened by Tuesday to consider the amended legislation, as Monday is a public holiday. The official Cyprus News Agency said in a report that the island's international lenders are closely watching the situation and are in constant touch with the Cypriot government to make sure that the new bill to be sent to parliament will be in line with existing loan agreements. The Minister of Finance has warned that without the next loan tranche amounting to 236 million euros (324 million U.S. dollars) the government may find it impossible to pay salaries and pensions in March or April. President Anastasiades said he would stand firm on reforms in the economy and the government. "I am determined that the country continue its path towards stabilization and recovery," Anastasiades wrote in his official Twitter account. His comments were meant to be an answer to opposition parties which lined up with trade unions in rejecting planned deep reforms of state owned enterprises. Hundreds of employees staged a protest outside the parliament's building as it debated the bill on Thursday night.

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