BRASÍLIA, 17 Jul (Reuters) – President Dilma Rousseff was insistent today in her defense of a plebiscite to establish the foundations of a political reform, pointing to recent opinion polls that show support for her proposal to change the rules of Brazilian politics.
“When it comes to political reform, I believe it is fundamental to base this reform on a popular consultation,” the President said during a meeting commemorating the first decade of CDES, the Council on Economic and Social Development.
Dilma is defending the plebiscite at a moment when the national congress is working to establish its own internal norms for reform, which would only be submitted to a popular referendum after it was passed by Congress.
The federal government defends a plebiscite in which the voters are asked beforehand what points should be included in the reform, which only then would be voted on by Congress, based on the results of the popular consultation.
“We have proposed that the people be consulted by means of a plebiscite in which in which present conditions are defined and a debate is opened. In our view, in my new, in the view of my government … and I have seen the polls according to which this popular manifestation is key to effectively satisfying the deep-seated desires expressed by the demonstrations,” she added.
Recent polls, such as the Datafolha published at the end of last month and the MDA Institute poll conducted for the CNT – the National Transportation Confederation – show that 68% favor the government’s call for a plebiscite on the results of which political reform would be based.
These same polls point to a significant decline – more than 20% — in support for the government and in the popularity of the president since the wave of protests that saw 1 million Brazilians take to the streets in a single day last month.
In late June, after a series of protests in various cities, Dilma proposed five promises to all state and major city governments, among them a plebiscite autorizing a “constitutive process” for political reform.
Later, the government abandoned the idea of a constituent assembly specifically focused on the topic of political reform; in early July it sent Congress a proposal for a plebisccite to establish the fundamentals of political changes.
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