BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s lower house of Congress began final debates on Wednesday ahead of a vote on a landmark overhaul to the country’s pension system, as expectations of the bill’s passage pushed Brazilian financial markets to historic highs.
After months of intense and often acrimonious political drama, including a late Tuesday postponement due to bargaining between the government and opposition lawmakers, Speaker Rodrigo Maia opened the voting session around midday on Wednesday.
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By then, Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock market had already jumped nearly 2% to an all-time high above 106,000 points and the currency had hit its strongest level since March as traders bet the long-awaited approval was within reach.
Pension reform is the cornerstone of President Jair Bolsonaro’s economic agenda as he tries to bring the country’s public finances back to health, aiming to save the public purse around 1 trillion reais ($263 billion) over the next decade.
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Asked about prospects for his reform bill, Bolsonaro said “Victory!” His chief of staff Onyx Lorenzoni said the government now has enough votes for it to pass.
The first round of lower house plenary voting on Wednesday will be on the basic text of the bill and any amendments that...
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