Brazil’s Temer and Bolsonaro talk G20, pension reform in transition

World

BRASÍLIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro and incumbent President Michel Temer met on Wednesday to discuss prospects for urgent economic reforms and a potential joint foreign trip at the end of the month.

Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Brazil’s President Michel Temer greet each other during a session at the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

At a press conference after the meeting, Temer said he invited Bolsonaro to accompany him to the G20 summit from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 in Buenos Aires as part of the transition to the new government.

Bolsonaro, who takes office on Jan. 1, said this week he would discuss with Temer the need to push through pension reform this year to bring the country’s gaping budget deficit under control.

On Wednesday, he said he planned to quickly advance pension and tax reforms as the country tries to fend off what he described as a severe economic crisis.

He also promised to prioritize a solution for Brazil’s public security problems, a central plank in the former army captain’s platform that emphasizes law and order.

Augusto Heleno, the head of a group of retired army generals who backed Bolsonaro’s presidential bid, will take the top security position in the new cabinet, a spokesman for the transition team said on Wednesday.

Heleno had been announced as the next defense minister. But Bolsonaro will instead tap a senior navy officer as defense minister to balance the preponderance of retired army generals in key posts, according to Vice President-elect Hamilton Moura, himself a retired army general.

Bolsonaro told reporters that the chief executive of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Ivan Monteiro, was not expected to stay in the new administration.

He said the final decision would be made by his chief economic adviser, Paulo Guedes.

Bolsonaro said he and Guedes had not discussed the fate of central bank chief Ilan Goldfajn.

His foreign minister will be a career diplomat, he said.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito, Lissandra Paraguassú, Anthony Boadle and Marcela Ayres; Editing by Richard Chang

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