In Brazil, It's Carnival First, Pension Reform Later

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s pension reform lands in Congress on Wednesday, but its arrival is largely symbolic. The Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) will only begin to move forward after the carnival holiday, set to finish on March 6.

House rules set the pace. The PEC’s first stop in Congress is the lower house’s Constitution and Justice Committee, or CCJ, which has yet to be formed. Negotiations for the composition of the CCJ are currently underway and, in the best case scenario, the parties will determine the members and the chair of the committee next week.

Lawmakers and technicians agree that, even if the composition of the CCJ is finalized before carnival, the chances of having a working session before the holiday are very remote.

The optimistic expectation of those in favor of pension reform is that the PEC will begin to advance right after carnival. But there is a concern that the government’s lack of negotiating experience could aide obstruction efforts by left wing opposition parties, such as the PT and PSOL.

If approved in the CCJ, the PEC will be referred to a special commission whose make-up will be decided by the speaker of the house, Rodrigo Maia. After it clears the committee stage, the legislation still requires approval by a three-fifths majority in two separate votes in both houses of Congress.

Reporter on the original story: Samy Adghirni in Brasilia Newsroom at sadghirni@bloomberg.net

Editor responsible for the original story: Ney Hayashi at ncruz4@bloomberg.net

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