Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos died Wednesday in a plane crash, throwing the country's October election into chaos. Campos' private jet crashed in bad weather as it was preparing to land in the coastal city of Santos, south of Sao Paulo, on its way from Rio de Janeiro.
All seven people aboard the aircraft were killed, according to Yahoo! News. Campos was third in the polls and was not expected to win the presidential race. However, he was perceived by some voters as the most market-friendly of the three main candidates.
As a result, Campos' death set off a scramble for his supporters in a tightening election. President Dilma Rousseff, the race leader, announced all campaigning will be suspended for three days out of respect for her fellow candidate. Senator Aecio Neves, also a presidential candidate, said he was "immensely saddened" by Campos' death.
BBC notes that Brazil's Vice President Michel Temer expressed his condolences over the death of Eduardo Campos, saying there were "no words to describe the tragedy that has befallen Brazilian politics today." Temer added:
"Eduardo Campos was a politician with principles and values passed down through his family and carried with dignity and honor throughout his career in parliament and the executive."
Campos was a former governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco. He was running as a business-friendly leftist and received strong support from banks and industrial groups. With his death, running mate Marina Silva could become the Brazilian Socialist Party's new candidate.
Silva, who was not aboard the plane that crashed, placed a strong third in the 2010 presidential election and has strong support from young voters and evangelical voters. In a note to clients, the bank Brown Brothers Harriman said that Silva's entry could increase the odds of a presidential runoff election.
The bank's note explained, "She is very well known and arguably has a closer electoral base to President [Rouseff]."
The country's main stock index lost up to 2 percent after reports of Campos' death emerged. However, the stock index later gained ground, even when the news of the plane crash was confirmed. Brazil's currency also plummeted briefly, but later bounced back.
Brazil's markets have risen in recent months on news of Rouseff's slipping popularity. The left-leaning president has alienated many business leaders with interventionist policies. As a result, Brazil's economy has been mostly stagnant since she took office in 2011.
Eduardo Campos was on his way back from an interview with the country's most-watched nightly news program with his plane crashed.
[Image: Portal Valor]