Veteran MP steps in as House Speaker after passport fiasco

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Veteran MP Adamos Adamou is the new President of the House of Representatives after Demetris Syllouris resigned this week amid public fury following a video where he appears to be willing to assist an alleged fugitive from China secure a ‘golden passport’.

At 70, Dr Adamou is the oldest MP and has often been in the chair as Acting President of the House, when under the constitution, the Speaker takes over as Acting President every time Nicos Anastasiades is out of the country.

This is the first time in the 60-year history of the Republic of Cyprus that a House Speaker has resigned.

Adamou is the 13th President of parliament and will be sworn in at the next plenary session.

He will remain in office until the next parliamentary elections in May 2021.

The undercover sting video by broadcaster Al Jazeera also showed property developer Christakis Giovanis and his family-run company, as well as a lawyer and other associates, suggest ways to secure a Cypriot passport as part of the controversial Citizenship for Investment Scheme, that has since been scrapped.

Giovanis, an MP for opposition AKEL, was forced by his party to resign on Tuesday.

Adamou is also an AKEL MP but was proposed in a near-unanimous decision by political parties, praising his character.

Giovanis’ parliamentary seat goes to 2016 election runner-up Toumazos Tsielepis, a member of the party’s central committee and a former presidential advisor on the Cyprus talks.

Syllouris’ seat is taken up by TV and radio host Roula Georgiadou, who had the next best votes from the Solidarity party in the last election.

This raises the number of women in the 56-seat parliament from 11 to 12, or from 19.6% to 21.4% of the membership.

Nationalist ELAM said though it has great esteem for Dr Adamou, it did not support his election for two reasons – the Yiorkadji List of non-performing loans by politically exposed persons has not yet returned for parliamentary scrutiny, and because Adamou will not give up his party membership to be regarded an impartial Speaker.

Adamou said: “A lot of hard work awaits us, given the collapse of the credibility and dignity of the House of Representatives after the latest events”.

He thanked the parties DISY, AKEL, DIKO, socialist EDEK, Citizens’ Alliance, Solidarity and the Greens that supported his candidacy, saying there is no doubt that everyone will rise to the occasion, so as the parliament will truly belong to civil society.

Adamou is a pathologist and oncologist by profession.

He is currently chairman of the non-profit Anti-Cancer Society, a community organisation that raise funds, finance purchase of medical equipment and operates the Arodaphnousa palliative care centre in Nicosia.

He was first elected MP for AKEL in 2003 and served as Member of the European Parliament for a term after Cyprus joined the EU in 2004.

In the current parliament, he chaired the House Environment Committee.