Ex-Socialist presidential candidate Giorgos Lillikas has suggested that Cyprus would rather exit the euro than impose the deposit tax demanded by the eurozone and International Monetary Fund.
“I hope our partners are not asking us to choose between committing suicide and leaving the euro,” he told Skai TV on Thursday morning. “There is no way we will commit suicide.”
Lillikas’s assertion that Cypriots would rather leave the euro than meet the troika’s demands are backed up by an opinion poll published on Thursday.
The survey by Prime Consulting found that 91 percent of Cypriots backed their Parliament’s decision to reject the deposit tax.
The poll also found that 67.3 percent of Cypriots favored their country’s exit from the eurozone and a strengthening of relations with Russia.
Former Foreign Minister Lillikas said that he was certain a Cypriot eurozone exit would lead to the collapse of the single currency.
“I am sure that if one country, no matter how small, leaves the eurozone, the euro will collapse,” he said.
Lillikas said that following the troika’s suggestions and imposing a tax on deposits in Cypriot banks would destroy the island’s banking system.
He also claimed that Cyprus does not need to raise the 17 billion euros that the troika has earmarked. He said that Cyprus only needs 7 billion euros for the next two years, which it can raise partly from internal borrowing.
Lillikas suggested after that, Cyprus could raise money from monetizing future gas revenues.