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Plan for new Cyprus vote casts uncertainty on bailout
THE €10 billion aid deal to save Cyprus from bankruptcy has been thrown into fresh uncertainty with news that the island’s fractious parliament will vote on the final package.
The surprise vote has only just been scheduled, and early signs are that nearly half the members of the 56-seat parliament may oppose the bailout, seen as vital to keep Cyprus in the euro zone.
The Greens Party said yesterday its sole parliamentarian would vote to reject the deal, becoming the first party to announce its intentions.
However, the Communist AKEL and Socialist EDEK parties, which together have 24 seats, have been vocal in their opposition to the bailout, and are seen as likely to vote against, although there is some chance they may abstain instead
"We've fought for freedom, we've fought to maintain the Cypriot Republic," Greens MP George Perdikis said in statement.
"It is, in my opinion, a crime and wrong to deliver Cyprus into the hands of the troika and allow it to become a colony," he said, referring to the country's European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund lenders.
The parliament shocked Europe by voting unanimously in March against an initial bailout plan which featured controversial demands that bank depositors including small savers should have funds seized to pay towards the cost.
The final version of the bailout agreed with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, forced massive losses on big depositors in the island's two major commercial banks, triggering economic turmoil likely to sink the country deeper into recession.
The deal, which still requires ratification by parliaments in some EU member states, must also be put to Cyprus's parliament for a vote - a previously unscheduled plan - according to Attorney general, Petros Clerides.
"Whoever is prepared to vote against the loan agreement should at the same time propose where this €10 billion will be found," government spokesman Christos Stylianides told state radio yesterday.
“They should also propose how we would deal with issues such as paying wages and pensions, and how we would deal with the international uproar caused by a possible rejection of the loan agreement," he said.
The bailout agreement was expected to be put to the assembly at the end of the month, once it has been approved by the cabinet, parliament's acting permanent secretary, Socrates Socratous, told Reuters yesterday.
Ruling DISY, and coalition partner DIKO, even if their parliamentary votes are combined, will fall short of a majority.
"It's time to face this critical situation for the salvation of our country and everyone needs to take responsibility," said DISY’s Lefteris Christoforou.