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Anastasiades lines up meeting with Cypriot party leaders, vote likely postponed

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is due to meet with party leaders on Wednesday morning to discuss a controversial deposit tax after apparently ditching an attempt to pass it through Parliament on Tuesday due to a lack of support.

The parliamentary debate and vote looked to have been postponed for a second time since Sunday as it seemed clear that Anastasiades would not get enough support on Tuesday, despite tweaking the original plan for the levy so depositors with less than 20,000 euros in the bank would be exempted.

Greece's state TV (NET) and private channel Mega reported that Anastasiades wants to hold talks with all the island's party leaders before deciding whether to proceed with a vote.

According to the draft law submitted to the House’s economic committee on Tuesday morning, depositors with 20,000 to 100,000 euros in savings would face a 6.75 percent, as before. Those with more than 100,000 euros will be charged at a rate of 9.9 percent, as was agreed at a Eurogroup meeting that ended on Saturday morning.

Eurozone finance ministers agreed on Monday night during a teleconference to allow Cyprus to make changes to the tax as long as it raised the agreed amount of 5.8 billion euros.

It is estimated that the exemption of deposits under 20,000 euros will leave Nicosia with a shortfall of up to 400 million euros It was not clear how this gap would be filled.

Anastasiades needs 29 votes for a majority in the 56-seat Parliament.

His Democratic Rally party (DISY) has 20 seats and will rely on support from its coalition partner, the Democratic Party (DIKO), which has eight MPs and then at least one of the two European Party (EVROKO) deputies or an independent lawmakers to support the tax.

The Communist Party (AKEL), the Socialists (EDEK) and the Greens said they would reject the levy.

However, DIKO indicated on Monday that it would not support the tax. It referred to the Eurogroup’s decision to approve the measure as “catastrophic.”

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday March 19, 2013 (15:10)  
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