The lower house approved the 2020 budget with higher fiscal costs for the ‘social agenda’, but avoided reducing the diet of legislators.
The Chilean Chamber of Deputies on Friday rejected a motion to reduce the per diem of legislators, following the general approval of the 2020 budget law, local newspaper Biobio reported.
The proposal implied a reduction that would lead to 1,000 pesos ($ 1.29) the amount of the budget of both chambers for trips abroad, as part of the measures announced in the ‘social agenda’ by President Sebastián Piñera, in response to social outbreak in the country.
The deputies rejected the initiative proposing that symbolic diet with 31 votes in favor, 39 against and 31 abstentions.
Currently, parliamentary assignments have a cap of 20 million pesos (about $ 25,800) for senators and 11 million ($ 14,200) for deputies. This includes funds for the payment of advisors, per diem, air tickets, vehicle rental, telephony, among other items.
The failure of the proposal occurs within the framework of the population’s insistent demands against inequality and low wages, with massive protests in the streets for more than three weeks.
According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), the average salary of Chileans in 2018 was 573,964 pesos per month ($ 740.98) . Likewise, only 1.7% of the workers reached amounts equal to or greater than 3 million pesos.
Chilean lawmakers, meanwhile, receive a gross monthly salary of 9,349,851 Chilean pesos (about $ 13,000), plus a per diem that exceeds the global average 4.7 times according to a study by the World Inter Parliamentary Union, conducted in 2013.
Featured image: Desks of the Chamber of Deputies inside the Chilean congress in Valparaíso, Chile. Rodrigo Garrido / Reuters
Translated by JRE/EF