NICOSIA, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus' parliament started a twice postponed session on Tuesday to consider the bank deposits levy legislation before immediately postponing the debate when a member of parliament proposed first passing a law on the protection of depositors.
The decision to start the debate on the bill was made by party leaders as hundreds of flag-waving demonstrators at a short distance from parliament voiced their opposition to the bank deposits levy.
The finance ministry has prepared a revised bill on the levy, which spares small savers with deposits of up to 20,000 euros (25,800 U.S. dollars) by setting a levy of 0 percent.
Deposits of between 20,000 and 100,000 euros will be taxed 6.75 percent and a levy of 9.9 percent will be imposed on deposits of over 100,000 euros.
As soon as the parliamentary session was declared open, an independent deputy tabled a private law proposal and the deputies unanimously decided to urgently consider it before any other parliamentary work.
Discussion on the bill imposing the possible levy will follow the debate on the private act.
House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou set total discussion time at two hours, meaning that a vote will be at about 1830 GMT.
Parliamentary sources said a clear majority of deputies in the 56-member chamber will reject the bill, with the deputies of the main government coalition party abstaining. (1 euro = 1.29 U.S. dollars)