|Nicosia party leaders to gather today
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has called an emergency meeting of party leaders today in a frantic search for a viable plan B after MPs rejected the terms of an EU bailout aimed at saving Cyprus from bankruptcy.
Angry lawmakers last night voiced their disapproval for a divisive levy on bank accounts, devised as part of the bailout EU-IMF rescue package, decrying as blackmail the recently forged deal which already lies in tatters, AFP reports.
Under the bailout deal reached at the weekend, the troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund were to provide Cyprus with 10 billion euros on condition the island raises another 5.8 billion euros.
It called for a levy of up to 9.9 percent to be slapped on all Cyprus bank deposits, an unprecedented move that triggered outrage among savers and raised fears other financially crippled EU states like Italy and Spain could be next.
The Cypriot government backtracked, and dropped the proposed tax on savings below 20,000 euros yesterday, while keeping it at 6.75 percent for deposits of 20,000-100,000 euros and 9.9 percent for those above 100,000.
But that too was heavily criticized by the speaker as amounting to “blackmail’’ before it was flatly rejected in parliament, in a vote that plunges the euro zone into uncertainly and leaves Cyprus scrambling for other sources of financing.
Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said 36 MPs voted against the bill, 19 abstained and none were in favor, prompting an explosion of joy outside the parliament among thousands of protesters who were demanding the house spurn the onerous measures.