CYPRUS: Municipalities approve bill to reform local authorities

Cyprus municipalities have given the green light to a key government reform of Local Authorities that will see their bloated number shrink.

The reform bill seeks to halve the number of municipalities from 30 to 15 giving them broader powers and more funds while cutting down on waste and inefficiency.

The final decision on which municipalities will merge with each other lies with the government.

While the Union of Municipalities approved the government-backed mergers it also voted against the holding of local referenda to approve such mergers.

Speaking to CNA, Andreas Vyras President of the Union, said an overwhelming majority of 77 votes in favour against two abstentions, approved the government bill, while 50 votes against 25 ruled the mergers should not seek approval in local referenda.

Interior Minister, Constantinos Petrides described the decision as extremely important.

The decision is of exceptional importance in our drive for modernising the state because without strong local government we cannot speak of a modern state.

Petrides said the government will soon which local authorities will merge into new entities, a proposal that will be incorporated in the government bill which is currently at the Law Office for legal vetting.

He also called on local authorities which are in consultations to submit their suggestions so that they could be included in the government proposal.

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou welcomed the decision that came after lengthy consultations between the government, political parties and the municipalities.

Source: The Financial Mirror