Santos (Brazil), Aug. 13 (Reuters): Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was killed in a plane crash today, throwing the October election into disarray and causing big swings in local financial markets.
Campos’s private jet crashed in bad weather as it prepared to land in the coastal city of Santos, just south of Sao Paulo, killing all seven persons on board, the Sao Paulo state fire department said. Television images showed smoke billowing from the crash site in a residential area.
Campos, 49, was in third place in recent polls with the support of about 10 per cent of voters. While he was not expected to win the October 5 vote, he was perceived by some as the most market-friendly of the three main candidates and his death will set off an intense, if respectful, scramble for his supporters in a tightening election.
President Dilma Rousseff, who is leading the race, announced she would suspend all campaigning for three days in mourning. Senator Aecio Neves, the centrist candidate running in second place, said he was “immensely saddened”.
Rousseff is leading in polls with about 36 per cent of voter support. Neves has enjoyed about 20 per cent support and was widely expected to face Rousseff in a second-round runoff.
Campos, a former governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, was running as a business-friendly leftist and had strong support from many banks and industrial groups. His death could see Marina Silva, his running mate, become the Brazilian Socialist Party’s candidate.
Silva was not aboard the plane that crashed. She placed a strong third in the 2010 presidential election and enjoys robust support from young voters and evangelical voters, but her pro-environment agenda means that many in Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector distrust her.