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UPDATE 3-Brazil lower house pension vote may be delayed to Wednesday

Maria Carolina Marcello and Jamie McGeever

(Adds house speaker's comments on timing of vote)

BRASILIA, July 9 (Reuters) - Brazil's lower house of Congress was due to vote on Tuesday on a landmark overhaul to the pension system, but ongoing political bargaining between the government and lawmakers could delay the vote to Wednesday.

Addressing the plenary on Tuesday evening, Speaker Rodrigo Maia said he expected a "long night," an indication that the government did not have the votes needed to win passage for its flagship economic reform bill.

Maia said he would extend the session at least until the debate was concluded. According to one lawmaker involved in the talks, this would pave the way for a vote on Wednesday morning.

Maia determines when a vote occurs but will only proceed when he is confident he has enough support in the house, which is comprised of representatives of more than 20 political parties.

The vote is a test of support for President Jair Bolsonaro, who has made it his key economic policy and is banking on the reform to bring the country's public finances back to health, saving the public purse around 1 trillion reais ($263 billion) over the next decade.

His economy ministry says Brazil's economic growth and inflation prospects for years to come rest on closing the huge budget gap created by the country's generous pension system.

"We are going to have a long night. We will keep going right to the end of the debate," Maia said in the chamber. "I expect that could be two to three in the morning."

Joice Hasselmann, the government's leader in Congress, told reporters earlier on Tuesday it was possible the vote could be delayed until Wednesday due to obstruction from opposition parties.

Earlier in the day, Bolsonaro and Maia both said they were confident the bill would pass two rounds of lower house voting this week before Congress breaks for recess on July 18.

The vote requires a three-fifths majority, or 308 of the 513 members of the lower house, to make the constitutional changes the bill demands. Presidential Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni said on Sunday that the government estimated it could count on around 330 votes.

A poll of lawmakers published on Tuesday by newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo found that 268 members of the lower house supported the bill, the highest number yet but still 40 votes short of what is needed.

If the pension bill passes in the lower house, it will move to the Senate after the congressional recess from July 18 to 31. Most analysts expect it will be approved there with little risk of being watered down by amendments.

Brazilian markets have rallied recently on rising expectations that the pension bill could pass. The benchmark Bovespa index hit a record high on Monday, rising 3.5% this month; it is up nearly 19% year to date.

($1 = 3.80) (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello, Lisandra Paraguassu, Jake Spring and Jamie McGeever Editing by Daniel Flynn, Steve Orlofsky, Richard Chang and Cynthia Osterman)