Cypriot parties fight court decision likely to destabilize economy

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NICOSIA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Major parties in Cyprus decided to appeal a court decision that might add millions of euros on the public payroll.

All eight parliamentary parties, in a rare show of unanimity, said on Monday after a meeting under President Nicos Anastasiades they would go along plans set out by Attorney General Costas Clerides to lodge an appeal aimed at reversing the decision.

Cyprus's administrative court ruled at the end of March that a freeze of incremental pay rises, a three-percent contribution to pensions, and a reduction in civil servants' pay by 12.5 percent violate Article 23 of the Constitution which protects the right to property.

The policy could cost the government over 1.6 billion euros (1.81 billion USD), at a time the economy is recovering from its 2013 collapse.

Clerides briefed political leaders on his plan to appeal the decision, which Averof Neophytou, leader of the ruling DISY party, said stood a good chance of being accepted by the Supreme Court.

Main opposition left-wing AKEL party leader Andros Kyprianou said that all leaders agreed with the lodging of an appeal and, pending on the outcome of its hearing, would consider additional measures if needed.

One reason for the unanimity of the parties is resentment against civil servants, who according to a Eurogroup report are the best paid in the European Union and enjoy other benefits, most notably a status of guaranteed life employment.

The attorney general has another 24 days to file his appeal against the administrative court's decision, in which he will ask that the case be heard on a priority basis by all 13 judges of the Supreme Court.

He will also ask for a freeze on the application of the decision, which would otherwise force the government to immediately disburse millions of euros to compensate civil servants for loss of income. Enditem

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