Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivered his proposed pension overhaul to Congress on Wednesday, aiming to save over 1 trillion reais (US$270 billion) in a decade by changing tax rates, delaying retirement and creating individual savings accounts.
The Brazilian government posted a fiscal deficit of 41.13 billion reais (US$ 11.27 billion) in December, the third widest monthly deficit on record, the central bank said on Thursday. While it was in line with forecasts and amplified by seasonal factors, the shortfall highlights the challenge of exerting tighter control over the country's finances which new President Jair Bolsonaro has said is one of his top priorities.
The real business of governing Brazil starts this Friday for president Jair Messias Bolsonaro with the opening of the new congress through which his ambitious reform program must pass. The former army captain is currently absent from Brasilia will have to follow events from his hospital bed in São Paulo, where he is recovering from a third major operation following his stabbing at a campaign rally last year that almost cost him his life.
Traditionally leaders of Brazil have had to offer ministerial posts to allied parties to form a working majority in a Congress that has more than two dozen parties. But following years of corruption scandals that pummeled trust in Brazil’s political establishment, president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has chosen his cabinet ignoring powerful party bosses.
Brazil’s right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that Congress must make some progress this year on a pension reform proposed by the outgoing government before he takes office on January first.
All eyes are set on Sunday October 7 presidential election, but Brazilians will also be electing, 27 governors, 54 senators and 513 legislators, and Congress wields considerable power and since 2016 has decided the fate of two presidents: to impeach Dilma Rousseff for juggling with budget numbers and to shield Michel Temer from corruption charges.
Evangelical voters are expected to play a decisive role in Brazil’s Oct. 7 presidential election as new rules ban corporations from making direct contributions in the wake of a graft scandal. With their numbers and clout growing, and the “evangelical bloc” in Congress accounting for 15% of federal lawmakers, evangelical supporters have become the focus of leading candidates.
Members of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) celebrated on Thursday their newest member, potential presidential candidate and former Supreme Court Justice Joaquim Barbosa, whose debut in a national poll stoked hopes for his potential.
The speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia, said he will run for the presidency with a market-friendly platform advocating tax cuts and more efficient public spending. Maia’s preliminary nomination by his centre-right Democrats party, the main ally to President Michel Temer, must be formalized at a convention in late July.
Brazil’s Senate on Wednesday approved an Open Skies agreement between Brazil and the United States that clears the way for a partnership between American Airlines Group Inc and LATAM Airlines Group. The treaty will be sent to President Michel Temer, who is expected to sign it into law.