BRASILIA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Michel
Temer has postponed meetings scheduled for Thursday to discuss a
crucial pension reform vote as he recovers well in hospital
following minor surgery, his office said, and he will not be
back on the job until Friday.
Temer was due to swear in Congressman Carlos Marun as his
political affairs minister who will be charged with drumming up
support for an unpopular overhaul of the costly social security
system, his key measure to bring Brazil's budget deficit under
The president was also due to meet the leaders of the two
chambers of Congress to discuss whether pension reform has
enough support to be put to the vote or should wait until
February after the yearend recess.
The government's leader in the Senate Romero Jucá stunned
Temer's administration on Wednesday by declaring that the ruling
coalition had agreed the vote would have to be put off until
next year to allow time to secure votes needed for its approval.
Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, who wants to see the
legislation enacted as soon as possible to help balance
government accounts, said there was no such agreement and urged
lawmakers to vote on pension reform by next week, the last
before Congress packs up for Christmas.
The bill would make Brazilians work for more years before
retiring and cut back generous pensions for public sector
employees. Lawmakers will be more reluctant to back the
austerity measure in 2018, an election year.
Investors fear that a failure to streamline social security
could weaken the currency and stock market, while boosting
interest rates and possibly fueling new credit rating downgrades
for Brazil next year.
Temer warned on Wednesday that the economy would suffer if
pension reform is not passed. But he had to interrupt a flurry
of meetings to rally support for the bill and fly to Sao Paulo
for surgery for a narrowing of his urethra.
His office said Wednesday's surgery was successful and he
needed 48 hours to recover, remaining in hospital until Friday.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle)
© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.