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Even the Watered-Down Version of the Pension Reform Lacks Backing

11/24/2017 - 10h38

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FROM SÃO PAULO

One day after President Michel Temer held a dinner meeting, in an attempt to gather political strength to pass the government's pension reform bill, Temer's allies are rather pessimistic concerning government's interests.

Although the bill has been watered down, congressmen claim "nothing will change" regarding parliamentary support, unless the current government campaign succeeds in reducing public rejection of the reform.

"Most party leaders attended dinner, but their 'followers' didn't join them. I asked: 'What happened, did you lose the strength of your leadership?'", joked Beto Mansur (PRB-SP), one of Temer's main allies in the lower house of Congress. José Rocha (PR-BA), who also attended the dinner, stated nothing has changed in terms of backing. "It doesn't matter if the proposal is old or new, time is against government. Any matters which may impact congressmen re-election is complicated," he said.

Arthur Lira (PP-PB) and Marcos Montes (PSD-MG), leaders of two major parties, had similar opinions: only by means of an efficient communication, able to muster public support, the reform can be saved.

Last week, government aired a TV ad campaign, of about R$ 20 million (US$ 6.2 million) to defend the reform.
Government still claims it intends to vote the bill in 2017, but allies believe that if they are able to approve it in 2018 "that's good enough."

Translated by ANA BEATRIZ DEMARIA

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