BRASILIA (Reuters) – The leader of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s party and the farm caucus in the Senate said on Friday that the powerful agribusiness sector is pragmatic and will adapt to an eventual victory by the incumbent’s leftist presidential challenger.
Senator Wellington Fagundes, re-elected on Sunday for Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top grain-producing state, told Reuters he hopes Bolsonaro will win re-election. But a win by former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva would not be the end of the world for the farm industry.
“Farmers will jump into Lula’s lap the day after he is elected. They are very pragmatic,” said Fagundes, who has served Mato Grosso for 20 years in both chambers of Congress.
Fagundes said he believes Bolsonaro will cede power without contesting the result of the Oct. 30 runoff if Lula wins, playing down the danger of the president’s attacks on Brazil’s electronic voting system.
“He attacks the electoral system because he is a provocateur,” the senator said of Bolsonaro’s baseless claims that its electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud.
Lula won the most votes in the first round of the election on Sunday, with 48% support against 43% for Bolsonaro, who outperformed opinion surveys amid a wave of conservative sentiment. His pro-gun views and opposition to indigenous land claims have made him the darling of many farm sector leaders.
Bolsonaro’s right-wing Liberal Party emerged from the election as the largest in both chambers of Congress.
Former Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias, who won a Senate seat on Sunday, is a strong candidate to be the next president of the Senate, Fagundes said.
He said the chances of another newly elected Bolsonaro ally, former Women’s Rights Minister Damares Alves, getting the position are “zero.”
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito; Editing by Marguerita Choy)