Ex-shipping minister running for Limassol district council

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Former shipping deputy minister, Vassilis Demetriades, launched his candidacy for chairman of the new Limassol district authority organisation (DAO), with the inauguration of his campaign office in the town centre.

Cyprus goes to the polls on June 9 to elect the island’s six members of the European parliament, new mayors and deputy mayors, as well as municipal council and local school board members.

Following the much-debated local administration reform, the number of municipalities will be merged and reduced as of July 1 to 20 from the present 30.

However, the new town halls will have 93 deputy mayors, representing the various ‘departments’ after the territorial re-zoning and mergers.

The municipal reform, criticised for not being ready for the changes, despite having ample time to prepare and extending the incumbent mayors’ terms by two years, will also include a further 287 communities that are not near or will not merge with larger municipalities.

The aim of the reform was to achieve economies of scale in public services, cut down on bureaucracy and reduce the cost burden on taxpayers.

The presidents of the five new DAOs will be tasked with supervising all municipalities and local councils in their district, and coordinate the collaboration of services, such as permits and inspections, public health, refuse collection, infrastructure maintenance, etc.

“A lot is being said about the problems this new venture will face. But the reform is doomed to succeed unless we roll up our sleeves and with hard work lay solid foundations to realise our vision,” Demetriades said.

Present at the campaign office inauguration were the current leader of the DISY party and House President Annita Demetriades, former DISY leader Averof Neophytou, former president Nicos Anastasiades, DIPA leader Marios Garoyian and personalities from Limassol society and the shipping community.

The junior minister in charge of shipping from July 2020 to the presidential elections in February 2023, Demetriades said his vision is based on a smart, functional and green community, with fairness and transparency, and encouraging development and growth.

“I want to listen to the problems of the city and the countryside and effectively contribute to their solution,” he said.

Demetriades will present details of his vision at a public presentation at Limassol’s Lanitio Theatre, at 7pm on March 19.