Despite protests, Brazil's pension reform expected to clear lower house

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Finance minister Henrique Meirelles said on Thursday that, despite popular discontent and protests against Brazil's pension reform, talks with parties and in congress are "going well."

According to local daily Estadão, the finance minister expects the reform to pass in the lower house by May. Lawmakers should approve the proposal in April, but Meirelles considered the possibility that there would be postponements, pushing approval back a month.

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Senate approval, according to Meirelles, should take place early in the second half of the year, considering the upper house has fewer members, with debate expected to move along faster.

Unions and activist groups across Brazil organized strikes and protests on Wednesday against the pension reform.

Just hours after Meirelles celebrated the fact that the number of requested amendments to the pension reform were fewer than expected, another 77 were filed on Tuesday. With these late additions, the total number of amendments calling for changes, withdrawals or inclusions to the reform proposal reached 146, most asking that rules for rural workers remain unchanged.