In a statement made Monday (Nov. 5), Brazil’s President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro argued for any advancement, “however small,” in the country’s pension reform still this year. He proposes a minimum retirement age of 61 for men and 56 for women, and higher for certain careers, yet to be named.
“It would be a major stride, the way I see it, if we manage to raise [the minimum age] in the civil service to 61 for men and 56 for women, and also increase the age for the other careers. I believe it’s a good start if we have something concrete after next year starts, to help the economy,” Bolsonaro said on Catholic channel TV Aparecida.
A 65 year-old minimum cannot be universal, the president-elect said, as certain professionals cannot retire even at 60. As an example, Bolsonaro mentioned military police agents in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s not fair to set a high [minimum retirement age for them].”
In a bill drafted by President Temer’s staff, men would be allowed to retire at 65, women at 62. The bill has already been approved by a special Congress commission, but is yet to be approved at other instances.
Merger of ministries
In the interview, Bolsonaro said he will retain Environment and Agriculture as two different ministries. He had originally announced the merger of the two. “A number of ruralists believe it’s not the case for a merger, but I’d like to make clear that there won’t be any difference.”
When asked about increasing the scope of abortion as it is allowed under the law, Bolsonaro said his priority is to keep the legislation as it is. “I’m committed not to expanding abortion under any circumstances,” he stated.
The president-elect said he is against abortion, but argued that the stance should be reconsidered under extreme situations. “I’m against abortion, but it’s a difficult issue when the mother’s life is at risk. In ectopic pregnancies, if the mother doesn’t have an abortion, she dies. What’s the answer? Just letting it happen? I ask God to enlighten me as I make the decision regarding this, if this matter is once again brought to discussion in the lower house or the Senate.”
At another point, Bolsonaro said Venezuelans entering the country as refugees should be sheltered—adding, however, that these measures should be coupled with actions against the Venezuelan government.
“We will recognize the situation in Venezuela. They’re running away from the dictatorship, from hunger, and from violence, but the federal government has to take action against Maduro’s administration—and not just shelter them and let things be solved by themselves.”