Anastasiades to speak to Merkel and Putin as support for Cyprus deposit tax remains eludes him

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is to hold telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ahead of a debate in Parliament on a bank deposit tax.

Anastasiades is struggling to get the majority he needs to pass the one-off levy and reportedly called Merkel to tell her so on Monday night.

The Cypriot president also spoke to EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Monday.

Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris is due in Moscow on Tuesday, where Putin was critical of the Eurogroup agreement for depositors in Cyprus, many Russians among them, to be taxed as part of the island’s bailout.

Anastasiades is thought to be examining ways of changing the original tax approved by the Eurogroup, which would see deposits under 100,000 euros taxed at 6.75 percent and those above 100,000 face a 9.9 percent levy.

During a teleconference on Monday night, eurozone finance ministers agreed that the details of the tax could be changed as long as Cyprus raises the previously agreed amount of 5.8 billion euros via the levy.

However, Cypriot Transport Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos told Mega TV on Tuesday morning that any proposal for a bank tax would be rejected by Parliament.

As of Monday night, it looked extremely doubtful whether Anastasiades would get the 29 votes he would need 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, which foresees deposits over 100,000 euros being taxed at 9.9 percent and those under 100,000 facing a one-off levy of 6.75 percent. It referred to the Eurogroup’s decision to approve the measure as “catastrophic.”

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