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Annan Plan vs. 1960 Constitution

Propose and discuss specific solutions to aspects of the Cyprus Problem

Postby Alexandros Lordos » Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:25 am

turkcyp wrote: And furthermore each state will have its rights to determine the citizenship requirements in its state so that equality at the federal level is not broken.


Turkcyp,

it seems to me that many of your choices are driven by the assumption that the current provisions in the Annan Plan will not guarantee in the long term your political equality at the Federal Level. Basically, your argument is that the provisions of the Plan will later be overruled by the European Court, and then senate equality will no longer apply, residence restrictions will no longer apply and so on.

If this is your concern, however, shouldn't we go about solving it in a more direct way, than changing the whole framework for a Solution ... what you propose as an alternative, by the way, (ie strict bizonality in return for less territory) is going to be very unpopular to the majorities of both communities, in my opinion: TCs will hate giving up so much territory, and GCs will hate the fact that they will be permanently blocked from residing in certain areas of the country - they will consider it a "concealed partition plan" and reject it as such.

Couldn't the problem of not having the derogations overturned be solved, let's say, by getting the European Court to issue a statement along with the Solution, that the Court will respect the terms of the agreement and grant them status of legal precedent? What do you think?
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Postby Alexandros Lordos » Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:48 am

turkcyp wrote:DISI, AKEL, and some other nationalistic GC parties will come together and they will take Durduran's party next to themsleves, and be elected. So the scenario that I have said will come true in the short run. No matter what they say, no GC party will want to ever team up with Eroglu although his views would get around %30 of the TC society. Only the nationalist TC parties will get eliminated, but nationalist GC parties will still survive.


Turkcyp, if we had simple majority vote of all Cypriots for the election of the Presidential Council, then the scenario that you fear is indeed possible ... but if each community, separated along ethnic lines like the senate, votes to elect an electoral college, then it is still possible to fix up the system so TC mainstream opinion is not ignored.

If, for instance, the total number of electors are 100, and 35 are chosen by Turkish Cypriots, then any GC political grouping that wants to vie for power will be ill-advised to form a coalition with the least popular TC parties, like Durduran's, because then it might get, let's say, 40 out of 65 GC electors, but it will get no more than 2 or 3 TC electors. The "prize catch" for GC parties (in terms of wanting to form a coalition) will inevitably be the large TC parties, which parties will also have the power to bring in the electors. Knowing Greek Cypriot politics, I am sure our politicians will not have a problem co-operating with Talat (AKEL mostly would be OK with this), or with Akinci (everyone would be OK with this), or even with Serdar Denktash (I suspect DISY would be OK with this). Concerning parties which will be excluded: It is not just Eroglu who will find it difficult to form a coalition, but DIKO also from the GC side (the party of Papadopoulos) would also find it difficult to get TC partners, unless they tone down their nationalist rhetoric ...

Now, if you believe that we need "time to mature" before such "integrated politics" can come into play, then perhaps there can be an interim period of ten years (the first two presidential council terms) wherein the Council will be chosen by the senate rather than by direct election ...
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Postby Alexandros Lordos » Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:09 pm

turkcyp wrote:By the way Alex,

You did not comment on the other things (other than presidential council)...

Like term limits, seperate electoral processes (not at a different time), number of senators, legislative functions, taxes, etc. etc.

And of course as usual feel free to add any further suggestion. May be this forum will come up with an improved plan. You never know. :)


OK my friend ...

Term limits: Yes, good idea to limit it to two terms, let's get rid of the dinosaurs ... one question though: How about the term limits of Constituent State leaders? Should they be entitled to two terms only? And who will decide? The Federal State, or should each constituent state have full autonomy to decide if they want term limits or not?

Personally, I tend to be in favour of stronger Federalisation, I think the Federal Government will by definition be more responsible, balanced, and think about what is best for everyone ... so, in response to your question about separate electoral processes, well, I tend to prefer fewer separate things ... but then again, it is not a "red line issue" for me: So if it is really important to you, then I have no problem.

About number of senators and congressmen: I think you are probably right about committees needing to be manned, and therefore needing more congressmen ... but it would have to be examined in detail. After all, the responsibilities of the Federal Government will be very limited, so maybe not all that many committees will be required. If of course more duties are given to the central government, then the number of congressmen should be adjusted accordingly. As to reducing the number of senators, I think I am not in favour, because if you think about it with 48 senators it would amount to 24 per constituent state. Divide that to the parties, and you will get 9 CTP Senators, 8 Eroglu Party senators (I keep forgetting its initials), 4 DP Senators, 2 Akkinci Party Senators (initials also forgotten :) ), and one or two from smaller parties ... and equivalently for the Greek Cypriots. So you see, if we reduce the number of senators even further, then there just won't be enough seats to fully represent the views of each community.

About taxes and budgets: Turkcyp, I am not sure what you mean here, when you say you wish it to be like the American system, because I don't know the American system ... but if I get the general drift, you prefer to have a "poorer central state", and "wealthier constituent states"? I guess that would solve a nuber of problems, such as having to quarrel each year in the senate and the presidential council about how the Federal budget should be distributed between north and south, on the other hand it would deprive the Federal Government of the tools with which to implement development policy as it sees fit. So I guess I have mixed feelings on this matter ...
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Postby Alexandros Lordos » Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:04 pm

Turkcyp,

now it is my turn to complain that you are not answering my posts ... :)

One more thought I wanted to discuss with you is: How would you feel if there was a clause to say that the three International Judges in the Supreme Court should come from EU countries? The reasoning being that this way it will be less of a "foreign interference" since Cyprus is part of Europe anyway ...

Another thought I wanted to bounce off you, is: Would you consider the creation of mainstream bicommunal political parties a good thing? And if so, what sort of institutions do you think are needed to bring this development about?

A third question: How would you feel about cross-voting for the senate? This would mean that, while we would still have two separate lists and two separate ballots, TCs would also vote for the GC senators and GCs will also vote for the TC senators but in a weighted fashion so that GC votes will only influence 20% of the TC result, and vice-verca. I know this sounds complicated, but what it would mean in practice is that a politician trying to get into the senate will still strive primarily to be popular amongst his community, but at the same time he will not dare to allow himself to be extremely unpopular to the other community (through inflammatory statements and extreme policies). Furthermore, through this method we start educating our people in principles of egaliterian democracy, since everyone will be forced to show an interest about politicians of the other side, and begin evaluating them as persons rather than according to their ethnicity.

A final, philosophical question: What would you say the mandate of the Federal state should be? Why, in other words, should it exist? What is its identity, and in what way shall it serve us? I am not asking here for a precise list of responsibilities, what I am looking for is a general / abstract response ...

I look forward to hear from you ...
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Postby metecyp » Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:33 pm

A third question: How would you feel about cross-voting for the senate?

Sorry to jump in, but this is such a good idea. That way Papadoupolos/Denktas will get zero votes from TCs/GCs and lose the election, for example :-) I like this idea a lot. I believe it also brings a kind of unity in the whole election process as well.
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Postby turkcyp » Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:19 pm

Before you complain too much my friend let me give you some more answers, :)

It is going to be a long one. Get ready. :)

Alexandros Lordos wrote:b]Term limits:[/b] Yes, good idea to limit it to two terms, let's get rid of the dinosaurs ... one question though: How about the term limits of Constituent State leaders? Should they be entitled to two terms only? And who will decide? The Federal State, or should each constituent state have full autonomy to decide if they want term limits or not?


In my personal opinion. I used to not like term limits because I thought they were unfair. And I still do think they are unfair. If a government or a person is a good one, they should be able to get elected bypassing the term limits.

But at the same time I also see the need for term limits, when I look at the politics. When there no term limits nothing tend to change in politics. It’s always the same faces and same policies or slight variations of them. Add to this the possibility if bad government that employs different tactics to get elected over and over against the will of people, and suddenly the need for term limits become quite apparent.

So in my ideal world term limits exits, but they can be revoked temporarily by the people for good governments or good leaders that they like. I guess this requires some kind of referendum before election to decide if term limits should be revoked at that election cycle or not. Technicalities can be sorted out, but this would be a system I have never heard of.

So turning to realities of today’s world, I guess believing that my ideal world would not be reached I guess, the negatives of not having term limits outweighs the positives of not having them, so I am for the term limits in every level of elected officials. With the exception of judiciary (including supreme court), which I believe they should not be appointed or elected but simply govern themselves. Only then they can be truly free.

Personally, I tend to be in favour of stronger Federalisation, I think the Federal Government will by definition be more responsible, balanced, and think about what is best for everyone ... so, in response to your question about separate electoral processes, well, I tend to prefer fewer separate things ... but then again, it is not a "red line issue" for me: So if it is really important to you, then I have no problem.


Believing that TCs and GCs are not the same and they view different things differently when it comes to policy choices, I believe that separate electoral process is best for Cyprus. This does not necessarily mean that Federal Government is not strong. It just means that strong (or not) federal government is chosen with using different processes at the same time.

In USA for example, every state has its own laws of how to choose senators, congressman, or even the president. Laws tend not to change that much with slight variations, but they are governed and decided at the state level, not at the federal level. State of Georgia may have different ways of choosing its senators then state of Louisiana for example. This is what I meant. This only makes sure that each electoral process reflects the policy choices of each state much properly.

After they are elected to federal posts, you can still have a string federal government. Although I tend to dislike any government which is strong (it does not matter of this is local, state or federal). This is why I am a strong believer of decentralization all the time because I believe the more you decentralize the more you can capture the differences in opinion into to the government.

The more central governments you have, the more agglomeration of opinions you will have and that is why the views of minority will always get lost. This is true for federal level, and true for state level. As long as it is economically feasible decentralization should occur I believe. For example it is stupid to give the power to exercise of monetary policy to states instead of federal because there is no reason to believe that a sound monetary policy would ask for different policies in the TC state and the GC state. So in terms of efficiency it makes sense to have one central monetary policy. Just as an example.

About number of senators and congressmen: I think you are probably right about committees needing to be manned, and therefore needing more congressmen ... but it would have to be examined in detail. After all, the responsibilities of the Federal Government will be very limited, so maybe not all that many committees will be required. If of course more duties are given to the central government, then the number of congressmen should be adjusted accordingly.


Hence my desire to detail wht Federal government and legislature is responsible of doing. their functions, etc. etc.

As to reducing the number of senators, I think I am not in favour, because if you think about it with 48 senators it would amount to 24 per constituent state. Divide that to the parties, and you will get 9 CTP Senators, 8 Eroglu Party senators (I keep forgetting its initials), 4 DP Senators, 2 Akkinci Party Senators (initials also forgotten :) ), and one or two from smaller parties ... and equivalently for the Greek Cypriots. So you see, if we reduce the number of senators even further, then there just won't be enough seats to fully represent the views of each community.


Reduction in the number of senators is given to make the whole system of governance simpler. That was my view. It is not a must. With every simplification of course we tend to loose some opinions, and of course it is a bitch.

But these parties that you have mentioned are not even represented in the TRNC parliament right now. It is not feasible to represent every view in a representative democracy. Otherwise we should be moving to direct democracy. (Which I really like but with current technology is impossible to implement. May be in 20 years I would say)
And it is not like TRNC election system is antidemocratic. The threshold is 5% I think which is not that high. SO in last election the disenfranchised voters were only %5.82. And even then these people had a chance of getting elected with the current system if they have run independent. Because for independents there is no threshold limit.

So as I have said I think if reality in order to simplify the whole system, we can easily reduce the number of senators, and not loose and significant opinion along the way. But As I have said, it is not a must.

But again it all comes down to what are the functions of congress and senate would be.

About taxes and budgets: Turkcyp, I am not sure what you mean here, when you say you wish it to be like the American system, because I don't know the American system ... but if I get the general drift, you prefer to have a "poorer central state", and "wealthier constituent states"? I guess that would solve a nuber of problems, such as having to quarrel each year in the senate and the presidential council about how the Federal budget should be distributed between north and south, on the other hand it would deprive the Federal Government of the tools with which to implement development policy as it sees fit. So I guess I have mixed feelings on this matter ...


Trust me nobody in the USA is complaining that federal government lacks the money, IN fact everybody in USA complains that federal taxes are so high. The fact is Federal govermetn can raise al the amount of money it needs and more from federal income tax.

Federal income tax on USA ranges from very law to as high as 39%. This, and the corporation income taxation is the main revenue generating mechanism in USA. This money of course tends to spent very inefficiently of course at the federal level, (and hence my dislike for big central governments). Of course then there is federal borrowing in terms of US treasury borrowings.

States on the other hand, gets money from federal government on project basis. There is no such thing as Federal government has to give states money to pay their own employees. In most of the cases, federal government only finances project like roads, dams, etc. etc. On the other hand states raise revenue on three ways, state income tax (next to federal income tax this is very little, and usually are around 5-6%. Then there is sales tax (a variation of VAT) which ranges from %0-19% depending on what you buy, and there is property tax (mostly used to finance education, because education is a local government thing in USA, and property taxes are also set at the local government level).
And of course on top of this states can borrow usually from financial markets with bonds.

Every state has the combination of the above three. For example Florida has no state income tax but has usually higher sales tax, and some other states the other way aroud.



One more thought I wanted to discuss with you is: How would you feel if there was a clause to say that the three International Judges in the Supreme Court should come from EU countries? The reasoning being that this way it will be less of a "foreign interference" since Cyprus is part of Europe anyway ...


I have no problem with that. As far as I remember the last foreign supreme court judge of RoC was German, and he quit in 1963 because Makarios decided to not care about his decisions on legality and ignore them. ;)


Another thought I wanted to bounce off you, is: Would you consider the creation of mainstream bicommunal political parties a good thing? And if so, what sort of institutions do you think are needed to bring this development about?


I think in time this will happen. But I do not thing this is not going to happen in the next 10 years I guess. In order this to happen I think TCs and GCs should start living in the same constitution for a while, so they can start trusting each other. But right now, I really do not think any mainstream TC or GC party would go for it.

What do I think about? I love it. But as I have said, life is a bitch, you never get what you really want. [ On a personal though level, one thing this country (RoC or TRNC) needs is to have a libertarian party though. That asks for minimum government, and increase personal liberties and curb all the stupid conservative laws that we are governed with. And also I know that it will never happen in a conservative society like Cyprus, especially at the GC side. TC side may be.]


A third question: How would you feel about cross-voting for the senate? This would mean that, while we would still have two separate lists and two separate ballots, TCs would also vote for the GC senators and GCs will also vote for the TC senators but in a weighted fashion so that GC votes will only influence 20% of the TC result, and vice-verca. I know this sounds complicated, but what it would mean in practice is that a politician trying to get into the senate will still strive primarily to be popular amongst his community, but at the same time he will not dare to allow himself to be extremely unpopular to the other community (through inflammatory statements and extreme policies). Furthermore, through this method we start educating our people in principles of egaliterian democracy, since everyone will be forced to show an interest about politicians of the other side, and begin evaluating them as persons rather than according to their ethnicity.


Can you open this a little more please. Could not understand it completely.


A final, philosophical question: What would you say the mandate of the Federal state should be? Why, in other words, should it exist? What is its identity, and in what way shall it serve us? I am not asking here for a precise list of responsibilities, what I am looking for is a general / abstract response ...


Philosophical and abstract answer: Federal government I think should exist only for the areas where it is not economically feasible for state government to do.

Let me give some examples although I know you did not ast. ;). monetary policy, customs policy, foreign policy, etc. etc.

And anything which is not the responsibility of federal government should be left to states.

And furthermore every state government should further be decentralized lower as well. Many of the policies are best implemented at the local level. Even education and police forces are at the local level in USA for example.

Ah, And one more thing is it should act as a cooperative agent between states. Like the last murder case. We definitely need a FBI of Cyprus to solve cross border criminal cases.
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Postby Alexandros Lordos » Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:22 pm

metecyp wrote:
A third question: How would you feel about cross-voting for the senate?

Sorry to jump in, but this is such a good idea. That way Papadoupolos/Denktas will get zero votes from TCs/GCs and lose the election, for example :-) I like this idea a lot. I believe it also brings a kind of unity in the whole election process as well.


I am glad you liked the idea ... and by the way, please jump in more often, it's good to get a few more voices in this thread ... :wink:

By the way, the idea is not mine, it was actually on the negotiating table until 4-5 years ago, but then it was inexplicably dropped. I suppose Denktash was dead against it, and Clerides probably didn't care too much either way, so they let it go ... :?
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Postby turkcyp » Fri Jan 28, 2005 10:06 pm

Couple of things I would like to add about Supreme Cpurt judges.

I do not know how the supreme court judges will be chosen in Annan Plan, and furthermore I do not know how the federal court system will also work.

Can you enlighten me on this matter,

I mean at the top we have Supreme Court. Are there any other courts below Supreme Court.

The reason I am asking these, is that I want to see the juidicial structure in the whole island after the solution. I really do not like Supreme Court judges getting appointed by political leaders or them being elected for that matter.

I like it to be created a pool of judges that will be selected by the judges themselves. Lets say the total amount of judges that will be required at the federal level is let's say 20. Then there should be created a pool of at least 40-50 judges that can be appointed to jusgeship at the federal level and the appointment itself should be done among the judges. At any point in time 50 judges can get together and fill out vacancies occuring at the federal judgeship level.

This pool of judges, I guess can be recruited from the state level judges, by the election of each states judges among themselves again.

With a system like this there can be a judiciary free of political influence of any kind.

Take care,

p.s. Alex also tell me what do you think about the new bizonality structure I have proposed. I guess this proposal solves the refuges issue easier. What do you say?
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Postby turkcyp » Mon May 02, 2005 6:46 pm

Again one of the old topics that have seen some good discussions.

See it in relation to Roadmap topic.
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