Brazilian air force members carry parts of the crashed
private jet which was carrying candidate Eduardo Campos.
Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos has been
killed in a plane crash, throwing the October election and
local financial markets into disarray.
A private jet carrying Campos and his entourage crashed in a
residential area in bad weather as it prepared to land in the
coastal city of Santos. The accident killed all seven people
on board, the Sao Paulo state fire department said.
Campos, 49, was running on a business-friendly platform and
was in third place in recent polls with the support of about
10 percent of voters.
While he was not expected to win the Oct. 5 vote, he was
widely seen as one of Brazil's brightest young political
stars and his death instantly changes the dynamics of the
race. Some analysts said it could make it harder for leftist
President Dilma Rousseff to win a second term.
His running mate, environmentalist Marina Silva, is a former
presidential candidate and was even better known than Campos
at this relatively early stage of the campaign.
If she runs in his place, as electoral law says she can,
Silva could eat into Rousseff's support among leftist voters.
An evangelical Christian with a strong record on the
environment, she could also attract more votes from Brazil's
growing pools of young and evangelical voters.
In the hours after the crash, politicians from all sides
expressed grief for a charismatic young former governor who
even opponents privately whispered was likely to become
president - probably not in 2014, but someday.
Rousseff, who is leading the race, announced she would
suspend all campaigning for three days. "All of Brazil is in
mourning," she said.
Senator Aecio Neves, the centrist candidate from the
Brazilian Social Democracy Party running in second place,
said he was "immensely saddened."
Rousseff is ahead in polls with about 36 percent of voter
support. Neves has enjoyed about 20 percent support and was
widely expected to face Rousseff in a second-round runoff on
Brazil's stock and currency markets initially fell on the
news of Campos' death and remained volatile as investors
struggled to grasp what the impact would be on the election.
Markets have gone up in recent months with each poll or other
development suggesting Rousseff might lose, due to investors'
distaste for her interventionist economic policies.
Some investors worried that Silva's entry into the race could
leave Neves as the only candidate with strong backing from
financial investors and big businesses. Others focused on
what they saw as the increased likelihood of Rousseff facing
a runoff in which both opposition camps lined up against her.
Campos, the leader of the Brazilian Socialist Party and a
former governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, was
running as a market-friendly leftist and had strong support
from many banks and industrial groups.
His running mate Silva placed a strong third in the 2010
presidential election, but her pro-environment agenda means
that many in Brazil's powerful agribusiness sector distrust
Silva, who was not on the plane that crashed, did not
immediately make any statements following Campos' death.
Brazil's main stock index lost as much as 2 percent following
initial reports that Campos was on the crashed plane, but
later regained ground and was down a little more than 1
percent in afternoon trade. The currency also fell sharply on
news of Campos' death but later bounced back.
The entry of Silva into the race could increase the odds of
Rousseff facing a runoff, Brown Brothers Harriman said in a
note to clients.
"She is very well known and arguably has a closer electoral
base to (Rousseff)," the bank said in the note.
On Tuesday night, Campos was in Rio de Janeiro for an
interview with Brazil's most-watched nightly news program.
Several pundits praised his performance as confident and
authoritative, and said he might rise in polls as a result.
Campos was a protege of popular former President Luiz Inacio
Lula da Silva before breaking with the ruling Workers' Party
in preparation for his presidential run last year.
"Surely he would have had an important role in Brazil's
future. Brazil needs leaders like him, with the ability to
understand the situation and not store up hatred or
animosity. Eduardo was like that," said Fernando Henrique
Cardoso, another former president and a member of Neves'