June 28, 2019 / 3:48 PM / 21 days ago

Relations between Brazil lawmakers, government improve: survey

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Relations between Brazilian lawmakers and the government are improving, a survey showed on Friday, boosting the chances that the Congress will approve pension reform that is President Jair Bolsonaro’s main economic reform plan.

According to the survey carried out by brokerage XP Investimentos, 49% of federal deputies say relations with the president’s office are good or excellent, up from 34% in April, while the share that characterized them as bad or terrible fell to 27% from 30%.

A total of 236 lawmakers were surveyed June 18-26, XP Investimentos said.

Excluding those who could be described as members of the opposition, 68% said relations were good or excellent, up from 48% two months before. The share of those who said ties were bad or terrible fell to 33% from 55%.

The lower house of Congress is currently debating the government’s ambitious and controversial pension reform bill, which aims to bring the public finances back to health and save over 1 trillion reais ($262 billion) over the next decade.

The proportion of lower house lawmakers who say some sort of social security reform is needed rose to 80% from 76%, the survey showed. But 56% said changes needed to be made to the government’s original draft bill, up from 42% in April.

The special congressional committee in charge of pension reform made several key changes to the draft earlier this month, such as removing states and municipalities from the text. It aims to vote on the bill next week, paving the way for a full debate and vote in the lower house plenary which the government hopes will be in the first half of July.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Alistair Bell

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