The debate on the new Parliament building is starting again

The debate on the construction of the new building of the House of Representatives is starting again, with the President of the body, Annita Dimitriou, in discussions with the Auditor General of the Republic and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, as stated by the Director General of the House Tasoula Ieronimidou.

Informing the parliamentary Finance Committee on the body’s budget for 2023, Mrs. Ieronimidou said that after the “freezing” of the issue during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 by the former Speaker of the Parliament, Annita Dimitriou has made many efforts on the issue, which dates back to 1994.

“We have had meetings with the Auditor General and the Ministry of Transport because now the issue of the space is on the table, because three new Ministries will be built there”, said Ms. Ionimidou. He also said that the issue of how to construct the new building was also raised on the discussion table and that the Auditor General made some recommendations on the matter.

All MPs raised the issue of building facilities, while many wondered how the Ministries “caught up” with the Parliament.

The Deputy President of DISY, Haris Georgiadis, characterized as populist the reaction to the need for the Parliament to have an appropriate building.

For his part, AKEL Member of Parliament, Aristos Damianou, characterized the existing building as a “continuous construction site” and added that we must all exert the necessary pressure to build the new Parliament building. And the MP of DIPA, Alekos Tryfonidis, said that it is necessary to proceed with the new building of the Parliament, in order for the members of the body to carry out their work adequately, as he said.

Marios Papapolyviou, Financial Director of the Parliament, said that it is wrong what is said that the new Parliament building will cost €95 million, since, as he said, this amount includes 10 years of maintenance, while the construction cost is estimated at €50 with €60 million

“The Parliament does not have a building, it is not that it is old or inappropriate. Since 1960 the state has not had a Parliament building, we had borrowed a building temporarily until the new building was built,” he said.

Besides, the President of the Committee, Deputy President of DIKO, Christiana Erotokritou, raised the issue of the technological adequacy of the Parliament’s systems.

“We have a problem with the technological adequacy of the systems and the technological support each MP has. But it is time to put our foot down a little because the Parliament must be in a better place in terms of the technological support of the deputies”, he said, also raising the issue of the legal department of the Parliament.

In relation to the legal department, Ms. Ieronimidou reminded that people have been hired and the legal sector has started to function. He noted, however, that there were problems in relation to their role and the notes they drew up regarding the proposed laws.

He recalled that previous budgets included funds to purchase services from reputable lawyers, which could be done. “So it is a matter of political will how the establishment or re-establishment of the effort that had been made will take place,” he added.


Towards a new voting system

DIKO MP Chrysis Pantelidis said that the existing voting system does not help and noted that a MP does not know what his colleagues are voting for.

In response, the General Director of the Parliament said that a €400,000 fund was included in the budget for the purchase of a system modeled on other Parliaments. Saying that only one company has the system in question, Ms. Ieronimidou said that “we are at an advanced stage to install the basic system and parts will be added according to the needs”.

In relation to technological proficiency, Ms. Ieronimidou said that there are procedures that govern these issues in the public sector and added that the issue is complex, since models must be studied for how the body’s technological support will be done. He said, however, that in order to have the support that is valid in other Parliaments “30 employees may be needed”.

The Parliament’s budget, the fourth drawn up under the body’s economic autonomy, foresees expenditure of €31.5 million, an amount corresponding to 0.003% of the total state budget.

According to a note from the Parliament to the Commission, staff costs amount to €15.5 million (49.2% of the total), of which compensation and allowances for MPs amount to €6 million. Operating costs amount to €3.7 million, transfers to €11.8 million, fixed assets to €0.5 million, while a fund of €0.02 million is planned.

Source: KYPE

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