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Crucial Cyprus bailout package vote looms

Cyprus lawmakers are preparing to vote on a new bailout on Friday as more pressure descends on them from the European Central Bank.

The government is urging parliament to approve a deal that would avert a bankruptcy that would almost certainly prompt Cyprus's exit from the euro zone.

"The next few hours will determine the future of the country," government spokesman Christos Stylianides said before the parliamentary debate. "We must all assume our share of the responsibility."

The ECB is pushing Cyprus to reach a deal quickly or risk Cypriot banks losing their financing. Without the government's approval for new measures, the country would lose the $13 billion bailout it previously requested and would risk a disorderly default.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the Parliament building on Friday morning, angrily demanding compensation for their losses at banks.

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