Brazilian government's economic package may face headwind from Congress

GMT 08:17 2016 Thursday ,19 May

Arab Today, arab today Brazilian government's economic package may face headwind from Congress

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Brasilia - XINHUA

Brazil's interim President Michel Temer and his economic team, who are resolved to jump-start the flagging economy by putting forth a package of economic measures, might need to fight opposition from legislators.

Unpopular proposals that could anger constituents, such as spending cuts and pension reform, both ideas floated by the new team, could be especially divisive for the political parties.

Though warmly received by the financial markets, Temer's economic cabinet, headed by Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, still has to convince the lawmakers who paved the way for Temer's ascension from vice president.

Political party chiefs in Congress that are allied with Temer gathered at the presidential headquarters in the capital Brasilia on Tuesday to express their willingness to open a dialogue, but didn't offer their unconditional support.

After the meeting, Temer's chief of staff, Geddel Vieira Lima, called for "patience," saying the economic measures and targets had to be well thought out, especially since most will require congressional approval.

"We need to be careful in presenting these measures, because it is essential to show society, the market, investors, whether national or foreign, that the government is going to act responsibly, (that) when it presents measures, goals, parameters they will be totally doable, in which they can believe," said Vieira.

But the more than two-thirds of the Chamber of Deputies who agreed to bring impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff and to suspend her from office for the impeachment trial, do not necessarily concur on all matters.

One of the congressional leaders of the pro-impeachment camp, Deputy Paulinho de Forca, who is head of the Solidarity Party and the Forca Sindical (FS) union, rejected the government's pension reform plan over the weekend.

Another potential obstacle for the government may be the new head of the Chamber of Deputies, Waldir Maranhao, who made an unsuccessful attempt to annul Rousseff's impeachment vote, which was cast days before he was made speaker of the lower house.

Temer and his team may also have some fierce negotiation to make, since political factions that abandoned the ruling Workers' Party (PT) coalition to vote with the pro-impeachment camp are now expecting payback in the form of key government posts, observers say.

The government wants to turn around Brazil's growing public deficit amid an economic slowdown that saw gross domestic product (GDP) fall 3.8 percent in 2015, with this year's figure projected to drop 3.88 percent.

The clock is ticking, since the law stipulates Rousseff's trial has to take place within 180 days of her suspension, which gives Temer six months to strive for a remarkable economic impact.

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