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Brazilian gov't denies bribing local administrations in exchange for voter support

Xinhua,December 30, 2017 Adjust font size:

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian Government Secretary Carlos Marun said Friday that the release of 2 billion U.S. dollars to local governments earlier in the day is not intended to gain support for the government's reforms.

"It is not associated with any support. The resource distribution is made according to the proportions determined by the Municipalities Participation Fund," Marun said, adding that towns will get money regardless of mayors' party affiliation.

A few days ago, Marun made a different statement which prompted questions about the money being some sort of bribe in exchange for support for the reforms.

Earlier this week, he said that the government expected "reciprocity" from state governors regarding pending financing, expecting them to convince representatives to vote to approve the social security reform, which will be submitted to the Congress in February.

The statements have sparked tension and Marun released Thursday a statement that he was not conditioning the payments to states for any support.

It is not the first time that the Temer administration was accused of buying congressmen's support. Months ago when the labor reform bill was about to go through voting in the Congress, it was considered controversial even inside Temer's coalition. It was rumored that several representatives were set to vote against the bill.

The government has, for several times in a single month, given congressmen from coalition parties more money than the entire amount released so far this year. Though the government denied vote-buying, the measure was severely criticized. Enditem