A woman passes outside of the a Russian commercial bank in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. A high proportion of deposits in Cypriot banks are believed to be held by Russians and Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris is flying to Moscow Tuesday to meet with his Russian counterpart. Financial markets are reported to be tense Tuesday as investors await a vote in Cyprus on a contentious plan to help fund the country's bailout by a one off charge on bank deposits although there may be a change to the proposed levy to spare small account holders. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — 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.
The bill, which had been amended Tuesday morning to shield small deposit holders from the deposit tax, was rejected with 36 votes against, 19 abstentions and zero votes in favor. One deputy was absent.
Hundreds of protesters outside Parliament cheered in jubilation and sang the national anthem when they heard the bill had not passed.
Cyprus will now have to come up with an alternative plan to raise the money.
If it doesn't, it won't qualify for external rescue loans, the country's banks face collapse and the country could go bankrupt.