Despite Wednesday’s push for a 2017 pension reform vote before the Christmas break, Brazil’s President Michel Temer delayed pension vote meetings scheduled for Thursday due to surgery, Reuters reports.
While he warned Wednesday that a suffering economy would be a direct result of his controversial pension bill’s failure to pass, Temer interrupted his scheduled support meetings to fly to Sao Paulo for surgery for a narrowing of his urethra, which his office said was successful. His office also noted that he will need 48 hours to recover and will remain in the hospital until Friday.
Of the cancelled meetings, Temer was scheduled to swear in Congressman Carlos Marun as his political affairs minister. Marun will be tasked with rallying support for the reform to bring Brazil’s budget issue under control.
Temer was also scheduled to meet leaders of Congress’ two chambers to discuss the status of the proposal’s support, where it would either go to a vote if there is enough support or be delayed until February.
Although Marun told reporters Temer’s administration was still trying to schedule a vote next week, he noted the President’s cabinet was considering the 2018 delay.
The bill calls for increases in the retirement and social security collection age, as well as a 15-year contribution minimum for private sector workers. A 25-year minimum will be required for retiring public service employees. In addition, workers will also require 40 years of service to receive full benefits.
Reuters reports that investors are worried that should there be a failure to overhaul the social security, Brazil’s currency and stock market could weaken. They also fear this would boost interest rates as well as new credit rating downgrades in 2018.