Brazil: Amid protests, pension reform vote delayed

Issue 

The full vote in the lower house of Brazil’s Congress on the government’s plan to reform the pension system will be delayed until the end of May, amid ongoing protests against it.

If passed, the controversial bill would cut benefits, raise social security contributions by civil servants and set a minimum retirement age of 65 years in a country where people work on average until 54 years.

About 71% of people in Brazil oppose the pension reform introduced by unelected President Michel Temer, according to the latest poll by the daily Folha de Sao Paulo’s polling institute Datafolha.

Temer’s government is also immensely unpopular. The latest Ipsos poll found a staggering disapproval rating of 87%.

Arthur Maia, in charge of drafting the bill, said that many of the chamber’s 513 lawmakers needed more information to support the reform. Temer needs 308 votes to approve the constitutional reform in the lower house.

“There is no way to vote it (on the floor) this week or next,” Maia told Brazilian news radio network CBN.

Demonstrators protested against Temer and his neoliberal agenda in cities across Brazil on April 28, during Brazil's first general strike in more than two decades involving up 10 40 million people.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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