Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, left, and President of the Parliament Yiannakis Omirou walk toward the parliament following a meeting in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, March 18, 2013. Cyprus' president is briefing lawmakers ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote on a controversial levy on bank deposits that the cash-strapped country's creditors have demanded in exchange for a euro10 billion (US$13 billion) rescue package.(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.