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LatinNews Daily - 22 June 2021

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In brief: Brazil’s congress approves criticised Eletrobras law

* Brazil’s federal chamber of deputies has approved, for the second time, a presidential decree which lays out the conditions for the privatisation of the state-controlled electricity company, Eletrobras. The decree was returned to the chamber after the senate introduced some changes last week; deputies approved the modified decree with 258 votes in favour, 136 against, and five abstentions. It now awaits presidential sanction. The decree would allow the Brazilian government to give up its majority stake in Eletrobras by floating shares on the stock market; the state would nevertheless retain a ‘golden share’ giving it veto power, and two key subsidiaries – Eletronuclear and Itaipu Binacional, which administer the Angra nuclear plants and the Itaipu hydroelectric dam, respectively – would remain under state control. Despite the government’s assurances to the contrary, there are concerns that elements of the decree, notably the mandatory contracting of both thermo-electric plants in certain areas and small hydroelectric plants, will raise electricity prices for consumers. The political opposition has said it will file a judicial challenge to the decree.