POLITICS: Cyprus relies on pensioner to ensure Euro elections go ahead

European elections in Cyprus are hanging by a thread as the state is depending on a retired civil servant to ensure the May 26 vote happens.

Nobody in government seems to know how to manage the computerized system of the population archive, which is used to compile the electoral register for the ballot process. In desperation, the state has turned to a retired civil servant who is the only member of staff who can work the system.

Phileleftheros Daily quoted Demetris Demetriou, head of the Electoral Service, saying that without the help of the pensioner the government would not be able to pull off the task of organizing the European elections.

He also revealed the Election Service is staffed with just two officials, noting that “if the State wants to hold elections, it should hire staff for the Election Service.”

The recently retired civil servant, Nicos Petsas, knows the system as he helped design it. Petsas will be paid EUR 14,500 to the electoral roll ready and is expected to put in some 600 working hours.

According to Demetriou, Petsas will help update the system by removing deceased citizens who died prior to 2000, when the system was introduced.

Demetriou, also soon to retire, said that he has been demanding that the service should hire more staff since 2013.

The budget to cover the retired civil servant’s fee has been approved by the House despite MPs’ initial reaction.

The case poses serious questions around how the state can rely on just one civil servant for such an important task, and why was there no timely replacement found.

The date of the election and the civil servant’s retirement were known well in advance, so it couldn’t have come as a surprise.

Source: The Financial Mirror