BUSINESS

Cyprus set to approve new privatizations bill

Cyprus is to hold a new vote on a privatization bill hours before a deadline for the release of the next tranche of a 10-billion-euro bailout, after Parliament rejected an initial draft.

MPs failed to adopt a first version of the controversial bill in a tied vote late Thursday, which threw the bailout deal with international creditors into disarray.

But the crisis appeared to have been defused on Friday with a key party saying it would now vote in favor.

The government says it needs to pass the legislation for the sale of state utilities by Wednesday to meet the conditions set by the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

MPs will convene in an emergency session on Tuesday, state radio reported.

Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said it was critical that Parliament pass the legislation to avoid jeopardizing the credibility of Cyprus’s efforts to restore stability after the March 2013 bailout deal which was accompanied by a severe banking crisis and plunged the island into deep recession.

He said the new bill would contain amendments to reflect the concerns of the center-right DIKO party, five of whose MPs abstained in Thursday’s cliffhanger vote.

DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said his party would now back the bill after the government had agreed new provisions.

Meanwhile President Nicos Anastasiades will unveil a new cabinet lineup in mid-March after a walkout by coalition partner DIKO over resumed reunification talks with the Turkish Cypriots, his spokesman said on Friday.

All 11 cabinet ministers tendered their resignations on Friday to give the conservative president leeway to carry out a wider reshuffle but he asked them to remain at their posts until at least March 15.

[AFP]

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