AS THE Troika keeps pushing for closure by the end of this week, yesterday's marathon joint session of the House finance and interior committees failed to produce consensus on the controversial foreclosures bill, which is slated to continue discussion today and put to a plenary vote tomorrow.
The session, which started at
Georgiades informed the gathering of a 10-point letter by the Troika, in which it offered comments on some of the proposed amendments. Information leaked from inside the room suggested that while the Troika implied consent on some points, provided they would not overturn the bill's spirit and functionality, it argued against some of the parties' most critical demands. Reports said the international lenders had agreed to six of the amendments but a flat-out 'no' to the other four.
Key issues that include a proposal to push back implementation of the foreclosure bill's provision to coincide with implementation of the insolvency framework were rejected outright, while another to settle any debt outstanding and release the debtor and any guarantors following property foreclosure "will be discussed within the context of the upcoming insolvency framework."
Further, a suggestion to differentiate between collateralised loans by loan category, as well as a joint proposal by AKEL and EDEK for temporary court-ordered immunity from foreclosure to distressed owners of primary homes and small business premises, has also been rejected.
The right to legal recourse, a constitutional right granted every Cypriot citizen, has been approved.
The option to use the Land Registry's appraisal of the property under foreclosure instead of that of a private property appraiser has also been green-lit.
According to the Troika's letter, properties that have been paid for but no title deeds have been issued could be exempt from the bill's provisions, and the House may reserve the right to receive a quarterly update on foreclosures from the
Finally, the Troika has also accepted a condition that bank shareholders may not involve themselves in auctions of foreclosed properties, as well as another streamlining the obligations of commercial banks with those of foreign funds that may buy distressed loans from them.
"On the one hand we must welcome the fact that many of the suggestions made by political parties seem to be viewed positively," said
Papadopoulos declined to offer details on which amendments were accepted or opposed.
"The discussion is ongoing and details matter," he replied.
The committees will reconvene today in order for parties to settle on final convergences ahead of tomorrow's vote, but the Auditor General warned that his office requires sufficient time to study amendments from a constitutional perspective before they are put to a vote.
"Matters of such seriousness should be examined with due care for as long as may be required," he said. "They can't be raised at the last minute and call for a decision under the pressure of narrow deadlines."
But the risk of the Attorney General's office working against the clock aside, another issue may end up casting an ominous shadow.
Although the Troika's letter once again stressed the need to pass the bill tomorrow and left no room for further extensions, citing next week's
Such a decision would likely be met with the Troika's dissent as the vote is scheduled to be followed by the preparation of a report by the
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