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Argentine pension vote suspended after Congress chaos

Argentina's lower house suspended a vote on President Mauricio Macri's pension reform plan on Dec. 14 after a parliamentary session deteriorated into chaos and protesters clashed with the police outside, media reported.

Opposition politicians, who say the changes will hurt pensioners, shouted and refused to sit down, forcing an early end to the session.

After considering passing the reform by decree, the government will now try another vote Dec. 18, Clarín reported, citing government sources.

The reform, which has already passed the Senate, is key to Macri's plans to rein in the fiscal deficit to 3.2% of GDP by 2018 from 4.2% this year and to reduce inflation to 8% to 12% from above 20%. It would alter the formula used to calculate benefits from semiannual payment adjustments based on wage rises and tax revenue to quarterly adjustments linked to inflation.

"We will not back down," opposition lawmaker Mirta Tundis told local television. "It is outrageous that year after year, those who have less are affected most."

Outside parliament, security forces shot rubber bullets and tear gas to hold back protesters.