Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Congress threatens mass protest over Jan Lokpal

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New Delhi: Delhi state Congress chief Ajay Maken on Monday warned of mass protest if the Jan Lokpal Bill was not passed in the winter session of the Delhi assembly starting on November 18.

Reacting to a report that the anti-graft legislation was unlikely to be tabled in the winter session, contrary to the promise made by the Aam Aadmi Party government, Maken said the bill was repeatedly delayed.

“We will hold a massive demonstration outside the Delhi assembly on November 18, demanding that the Jan Lokpal Bill should be passed in the winter session itself,” Maken said.

The AAP has a nearly full house in the Delhi assembly — holding 67 of the 70 seats in the house.

Maken, a former union minister said though six assembly sessions have been held, there has been no discussion about the introduction of the bill.

“There was a reported move not to take up the Jan Lokpal Bill in the winter session,” he added.

Maken also said he has written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the issue.

“It is also quite ironical that a party that had quit the government on the issue of delay in enacting the Jan Lokpal bill has failed to even get the basic clearance from its own cabinet despite nine months in power in its second term,” he said in a letter to the chief minister.

“Especially, after making high-pitch about the same during elections and repeated personal assurance by your good-self, such unexplained delay is a blatant betrayal to the people of Delhi,” Maken added.

(IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)