Protestors hold Cyprus' flags during a rally outside the parliament in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, March 22, 2013. Cypriot authorities were putting the final touches Friday to a plan they hope will convince international lenders to provide the money the country urgently needed to avoid bankruptcy within days. �The next few hours will determine the future of this country,� said government spokesman Christos Stylianides.

Petros Karadjias, Associated Press - Ap

Cyprus racing to complete alternative rescue plan

  • Associated Press
  • March 23, 2013 - 5:15 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Politicians in Cyprus are racing to complete an alternative plan to raise the funds necessary for the country to qualify for an international bailout, with a potential bankruptcy just three days away.

Finance officials were meeting with representatives of its prospective creditors and working on several new laws Saturday, including a crucial bill that would impose some form of a tax on bank deposits.

The percentages and where the tax would apply are unclear, but a lawmaker said Friday it could be less than 1 percent on all deposits.

Late Friday, Parliament passed nine bills, including three key ones to restructure ailing banks, restrict financial transactions in emergencies and set up a "solidarity fund."

Cyprus needs to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) to secure its international bailout.

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