During a crucial top level meeting of Cypriot leaders including from left to right, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, ruling DISY party deputy leader Averof Neophytou, DIKO party boss Marios Garoyian, EVROKO party leader Demetris Syllouris, Cyprus Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades, and Central Bank Deputy Governor Spyros Stavrinakis, during a crucial meeting to find an alternative plan to raise 5.8 billion euros to finance a bailout at the Presidential palace in Nicosia Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Cypriot lawmakers have rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people's bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos II speaks to the media outside Presidential Palace after his meeting with Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades, in Nicosia, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Following the talks with President Anastasiades, the head of Cyprus' influential Orthodox church Archbishop Chrysostomos II said on Wednesday that he will put the church's assets at the country's disposal to help pull it out of a financial crisis. Cypriot lawmakers have rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people's bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Delia Velculescu, head of Troika (IMF), leaves the presidential palace after meeting with Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades, not pictured, in the capital Nicosia, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have seized part of people's bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, with not a single vote in favor. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ government has drawn up a new plan to raise funds needed for the country to secure a crucial international bailout, three top government officials said Wednesday.
The new bill could be voted on as early as Thursday evening, one of the officials said.
Parliament had resoundingly rejected the previous plan, which involved seizing up to
10 percent of people’s bank deposits.
The rejection threw Cyprus’ entire bailout into question, raising the possibility that the country’s banks could collapse, the government would be unable to pay its bills and Cyprus could be forced out of the euro.
The officials said the new “Plan B” includes some Russian assistance and a smaller bank deposit tax. Parliament is expected to vote on the new bill Thursday.
The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan was not yet being made public.
One official said Plan B was ready to be presented to party leaders at a meeting Thursday morning. The plan includes “some form” of Russian help, the official said, but expectations shouldn’t be high because Moscow had made clear it didn’t want to damage relations with the European Union.
Cyprus has turned to long-time ally Russia for help, with Finance Minister Michalis Sarris flying to Moscow on Tuesday for meetings and saying he would remain there as long as was required. Nearly a third of the total amount of deposits in Cyprus’ banks is believed to be held by Russians.
The idea that authorities could dip directly into people’s bank accounts had outraged Cypriots and Russians alike.
The European Union, and Germany in particular, have long argued that they should not have to ask their own taxpayers to contribute to bailing out a country when it was Russian oligarchs who would benefit.
A second government official said Plan B still includes some tax on deposits, but at a percentage definitely lower than those originally proposed. The official said the EU had given Cyprus until Monday to come up with an alternative, so speed was of the essence.