Cyprus’ lawmakers are voting April 30 on a bailout agreement aimed at preventing the country from going bankrupt that includes 10 billion euros ($13 billion) from international lenders but requires the government to find savings and revenue-raisers of another 13 billion euros ($17 billion).
“What we’re called upon today to do is to adopt a loan agreement that will allow our country to breathe and to give us the chance to overcome whichever problems we’re facing amid this crisis,” President Nicoas Anastasiades told reporters.
The Communist AKEL and Socialist EDEK parties said they will vote against the agreement to protest what they said is a deal that undermines the country’s sovereignty and leads to social misery, but the government still has a slight majority.
A mass demonstration called by left-wing trade unions and organizations was planned outside the Parliament during the vote. Voting in favor will be the ruling, center-right Democratic Rally party along with ally Democratic Party, which together hold exactly half the seats. Right-wing European Party leader Demetris Syllouris is also expected to cast an approving vote.
The 56-seat Parliament, which earlier in April rejected an initial plan that would have confiscated guaranteed bank accounts, is expected to approve the deal struck with the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).
Anastasiades warned that rejection would mean the bailout monies would be pulled and possibly force the island country out of the Eurozone of the 17 countries using the euro and into chaos.
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said that once the agreement is approved, the first installment of bailout cash should arrive by mid-May. “We have had enough of delusions. We don’t have another choice. Whoever has one should tell us what it is,” he told state radio.
Cypriots and bank account holders are still furious over other controls, such as limits on how much money they can withdraw daily, only 300 euros ($390) while tight restrictions have only now been relaxed slightly on businesses.
Other European parliaments, including those of Germany and the Netherlands, have already signed off on the accord and Cypriot lawmakers have already approved most of its terms.
Ahead of the vote on the bailout, Cypriot lawmakers approved additional austerity measures that are expected to plunge the country into a deep recession and record unemployment.
Cyprus is essentially broke, its economy ruined by its state banks large holdings in Greek bonds that were devalued 74 percent and with bad loans to Greek businesses that went belly-up during that country’s ongoing economic crisis.
AKEL, which had made the initial application for financial aid in June 2012 under Communist President Demetris Christofias, said the bailout terms were too harsh and that the government should find other funding sources.
“Cyprus’ only option is a solution outside the loan agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding. Seeking such a solution is possibly tantamount to a decision to exit the euro,” it said in a statement.