SANTOS, Brazil, (Reuters) – Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was killed in a plane crash yesterday, 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 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 that Campos’ death could make it harder for President Dilma Rousseff to win a second term, especially if his running mate Marina Silva runs in his place, as allowed by electoral law.
A renowned environmentalist and former presidential candidate, Silva is better known nationally than Campos and could eat into Rousseff’s support among leftist and younger voters. Silva’s religious beliefs also make her hugely popular among evangelical Christian voters, an increasingly important demographic in Brazil.
Silva’s popularity could get an additional boost from an outpouring of sympathy in the wake of Campos’ death.