Brazil: Brazilian employers vote Bolsonaro instead, but with reservations

 <p>Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the left during a press conference in Sao Paulo on August 22, 2022, on the right Jair Bolsonaro during a steel conference in Sao Paulo on August 23, 2022</p> <p>” width=”245″ height=”102″ src=”×102/filters:focal(117.5×56:127.5×46)/” /></p></div></div></figure></div><p class=Brazilian employers, who view the economic program of presidential election favorite Lula with suspicion, will again vote overwhelmingly for Jair Bolsonaro, but this time with more reservations than in 2018, analysts say.

Only 24% of business leaders want to see the return of former left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) while Bolsonaro enjoys the confidence of 62% of this segment of the electorate, according to a poll from the Datafolha institute published on Thursday.

A preference that goes against that of the general population, which would vote 47% for Lula and 33% for Bolsonaro.

Elected on the basis of a program advocating the reduction of the role of the State, the far-right president implemented policies favorable to the business world during his mandate, carrying out privatizations and sketching out a tax reform.

“I prefer a liberal agenda because it is private initiative that generates jobs and keeps the economy going,” Joao Cox, a member of the board of directors of several companies including the aircraft manufacturer Embraer, told AFP. who does not reveal his vote in the first round of October 2.

Small and medium business leaders appreciated Jair Bolsonaro’s stubborn refusal to pause the economy with lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic that killed 685,000 people in Brazil, according to Daniela Campello, a political science expert of the Getulio Vargas Foundation.

The beginnings of economic recovery also play in favor of the outgoing president. After the decline due to the pandemic in 2020, Latin America’s leading economy has returned to growth, with 4.6% in 2021. The market forecasts +2.65% this year.

– Economic rebound –

On the other hand, employers often take a dim view of Lula’s candidacy.

 <p>Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Gonçalo, Brazil, September 9, 2022</p> <p>” width=”245″ height=”162″ src=”data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAMAAAACCAIAAAASFvFNAAAABmJLR0QA8wDzAPNl4f/dAAAACXBIWXMAAAsTAAALEwEAmpwYAAAAFklEQVQI12P8/PkzAwMDAwMDEwMMAAAzfgLdhtgOogAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==” data- data-optimumx=”1″/></p></div></div></figure></div><p class=The business community is concerned about “greater economic interventionism and Lula’s commitment to workers’ rights”, in particular the promise to reverse the reform which relaxed labor law in 2017, explains Ms. Campello.

The agribusiness sector is one of the biggest supporters of the current president. The grain producer Oscar Cervi is also the first contributor to the Bolsonarist campaign with one million reais (197,000 euros).

A convoy of tractors even took part, symbolically, in the traditional military parade in Brasilia during the Independence Day celebrations on 7 September.

This sector, which represents almost 28% of GDP, has benefited from the efforts made in logistical infrastructure (ports, rail transport) and has recorded good performance despite the war in Ukraine, says Luiz Carlos Correa Carvalho, president of the Brazilian Association of agribusiness.

Jair Bolsonaro’s firm opposition to the claims of the natives in the dispute over the demarcation of their lands, currently before the Supreme Court, is also highly appreciated by agribusiness.

“Lula even said that agribusiness was + right-wing and fascist +, that’s why producers see it as a threat”, explains Mr. Correa Carvalho.

– Bolsonaro “psychopath” –

The agribusiness world also fears that Lula might decide to impose export taxes like centre-left President Alberto Fernandez did in Argentina.

The group of supporters of the president includes a handful of entrepreneurs under investigation by the Supreme Court for having supported, during conversations, a coup d’etat in the event of electoral defeat of their champion.

But this support for the far-right president is not unanimous. Businessman Luis Stuhlberger assured the Brazilian press, for example, that he would “never vote again” for the “psychopath” Bolsonaro.

 <p>A supporter of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wears a mask "Bolsonaro out" in Sao Paulo, September 10, 2022</p> <p>” width=”245″ height=”153″ src=”data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAMAAAACCAIAAAASFvFNAAAABmJLR0QA8wDzAPNl4f/dAAAACXBIWXMAAAsTAAALEwEAmpwYAAAAFklEQVQI12P8/PkzAwMDAwMDEwMMAAAzfgLdhtgOogAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==” data- data-optimumx=”1″/></p></div></div></figure></div><p class=“Business is more divided” today than in 2018, explains Christopher Garman, executive director of Eurasia for the Americas.

Automobile, chemical and international trade bosses told AFP that they did not want to take sides, despite having publicly supported Mr. Bolsonaro four years ago.

Powerful employers’ organizations such as the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo (Fiesp) or the Federation of Banks (Febraban) even signed a letter in defense of democracy, after the attacks by the Head of State against the electoral system.

It has lost credibility by increasing public spending and has a “very bad reputation when it comes to environmental issues,” according to Mr. Garman.

This eventually convinced some heads of multinationals to turn to Lula.

Brazil: Brazilian employers vote Bolsonaro instead, but with reservations