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Cypriot MPs retreat and back revised banks Bill

Financial shake-up passes at second attempt

Cypriot MPs put the country’s bailout back on track this week after they swiftly reversed their rejection of two Bills aimed at reforming the banking system.

In a late night revote on Tuesday, 41 MPs voted in favour and only three against new rules governing the country’s troubled co-operative and commercial banks.

MPs had narrowly defeated the Bills in an earlier vote.

Dissenting MPs mainly from the opposition communist Akel party and the smaller socialist Edek party said that the Bills wouldn’t prevent the selling off of co-operative bank shares to private investors.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades rushed to Parliament to join party leaders in an emergency late night meeting that struck a compromise deal satisfying a key Akel demand to enable co-operative banks to buy back their shares later.

The two Bills were part of a larger package of bailout measures to be discussed at a meeting of eurozone leaders next week when it’s expected that an installment of €1.5 billion (£1.26bn) from a €10bn (£8.4bn) loan will receive the green light.

In exchange for cash support the government will take ownership of nearly all the co-operative banks’ shares.

Several hundred angry protesters had gathered outside the Parliament during the debate to denounce the original legislation, saying it would only fan poverty.


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