Cyprus Finance Minister Michael Sarris resigns amid bailout talks

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Members of Committee for a Radical Left Rally protesting against austerity measures outside the House of Representatives in Nicosia, Cyprus in November 2012.
Image: Tco03displays.

Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris resigned yesterday due to public discontent with his handling of the negotiations over a bailout from international lenders and a state investigation into the circumstances that pushed the country close to a financial collapse. According to Cyprus based media organizations, Sarris has been succeeded by the current Labor Minister Haris Georgiades

Sarris attributed his resignation to the probe announced earlier today, admitting that he may also be targeted by judges as they try to find out why the country was forced to seek a bailout. "I believe that in order to facilitate the work of [investigators] the right thing would be to place my resignation at the disposal of the president of the republic, which I did," said Sarris, who was appointed as minister only in February.

Sarris's resignation came shortly after he signed a 10 billion (US$13 billion) rescue deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that could see depositors with €100,000 lose up to 60% of their savings. An earlier version of the deal, which called for all Cypriot bank depositors to sacrifice part of their savings, was later scrapped following a wave of popular outrage.

The bailout deal includes measures that strip Cyprus of its status as a financial hub and force the local government to impose limits on cash transfers lest depositors try to channel their money to banks abroad.