Risk of violence rises in Brazil as unpopular pension vote likely to today

Risk of violence rises in Brazil as unpopular pension vote likely to today

A controversial vote on an overhaul of Brazil’s pension system is expected today in the lower house of Brazil’s congress.

Brazil pension reforms

Photo: AFP

A controversial vote on an overhaul of Brazil’s pension system is expected today in the lower house of Brazil’s congress.

Spearheaded by President Michel Temer, the bill attempts to bring Brazil’s budget deficit under control by making significant cuts to Brazil’s costly social security system, which economists widely believed has caused the increasing deficit. Between 2014 and 2017 Brazil’s deficit nearly doubled. The social security deficit alone increased by 18.7% to a record $82.49 billion.

Due to the extent to which many Brazilians rely on benefits from the existing social security system, the bill is enormously unpopular. While there has been uncertainty over the bill’s passage, amendments watering down the legislation added two weeks ago may have secured the needed votes.

Since the earliest days of negotiations, protesters have actively denounced the bill. Temer has ordered federal troops to prevent protesters from disrupting the negotiation process and the eventual vote itself.

The bill will probably pass today. However, watch out for the potential of violent clashes between protesters and the police, which could still delay the vote.

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