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Worst version of Pension Reform could be passed on the sly in Brazil, expert says

Law expert Ludimar Rafanhin says president Michel Temer may rush to pass proposed reform after runoff election

Leia em português | Curitiba

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Demonstrators gather in Brazil protesting against proposed pension reform in December 2017 / Elitiel Guedes

Ludimar Rafanhin, a lawyer and expert in Public Law and public pension, spoke with the Brasil de Fato Paraná newspaper about what is at stake in case a proposed pension reform passes in Brazil. He says the country’s president, Michel Temer, is trying to rush this and could move to try to pass the bill on the sly after the runoff election, on Oct. 28.

Brasil de Fato: These last few months of Temer administration include his plans to rush the Congress to pass the Pension Reform. What is your take on this?

Temer himself has said that he will start conversations as soon as the election is over to pass the Pension Reform bill. And as he is in a hurry, the worst possible version of the Pension Reform bill could pass on the sly, ignoring changes unions have been fighting to introduce, for example.

What would be the impact [of passing this Pension Reform bill] on Brazilian workers’ lives?

What I see is that, to talk about pension funds, we have to talk about financing, and not about removing workers’ rights. And, if the proposed reform is passed, the full retirement age will increase to 65 [right now it’s 60 for women and 65 for men], workers will have to work 49 years to receive full retirement benefits [currently it is 30 years for women and 35 for men], rural workers will be required to make monthly social security payments, which does not happen today. There are numerous setbacks to so many struggles that were carried out so that workers would not be the ones that had to hurt to fix government accounts.

How important are the elections in this sense?

Today we have candidate [Jair] Bolsonaro advocating for eliminating workers’ rights. His party caucus is one of the largest [after last Sunday’s elections, his party will grow by more than sixfold, gaining 52 seats and becoming the second largest caucus in Congress starting in January]. This is why electing Haddad is necessary to stop this reform.

Edition: Laís Melo