* Cyprus lawmakers meet to debate, vote on bailout
* Government likely to clinch vote with thin majority
* Main opposition party wants funding from elsewhere
By Michele Kambas
NICOSIA, April 30 Cyprus's parliament decides on
Tuesday whether to back a bailout imposed by its EU partners,
with approval likely from a thin majority against mounting calls
for the island to exit the euro.
Lawmakers were due to meet in an extraordinary session at 4
p.m. (1300 GMT) to ratify the terms of the aid, which is
conditional on Cyprus winding down its second-largest bank and
slapping heavy losses on uninsured depositors in another.
No single party has a majority in the 56-member parliament,
and the government is counting on support from members of its
three party centre-right coalition which have 29 seats in total.
"The situation is extremely difficult," said Finance
Minister Harris Georgiades. Without a bailout, Cyprus would face
"incomparably tougher difficulties" and a fiscal "nightmare", he
told lawmakers on Monday.
Communist AKEL, in government until it lost presidential
elections in February, said it planned to vote against. It has
19 seats in parliament. The socialist Edek party, with 5 seats,
said it would also reject the bill.
Attempts to agree on a bailout triggered financial chaos on
the island last month, when parliament rejected an initial plan
to force both insured and uninsured depositors - those holding
less than 100,000 euros in savings - to pay a levy to fund the
recapitalisation of two banks heavily exposed to debt-crippled
It was followed by a two-week shutdown of banks. The
fallback option was to wind down one of the banks, Laiki, and
impose losses of up to 60 percent in uninsured deposits in a
second, Bank of Cyprus.
AKEL, which had made the initial application for financial
aid in June 2012, said onerous terms offered by Cyprus's EU
partners were compelling enough for the island to seek
alternative sources of funding.
"Cyprus's only option is a solution outside the loan
agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding. Seeking such a
solution is possibly tantamount to a decision to exit the euro,"
it said in a statement.