The death of presidential candidate Eduardo Campos makes it even more likely Brazil’s October election goes to a second round and could put President Dilma Rousseff under more pressure as she seeks a second term. Campos died in a plane crash on Wednesday and his running mate Marina Silva is expected to pick up the baton and run for president herself. She is a popular figure who won 19.3 percent of the vote when she ran in 2010. Silva has greater name recognition and more supporters than Campos had given that the campaign is still in its early stages. Her candidacy could give his Brazilian Socialist Party a boost and deprive Rousseff of votes she needs to avoid a second-round runoff against her main contender, Senator Aecio Neves.
“The chances of a second round have increased a lot, because Marina Silva will draw more votes away from Rousseff than she will from Aecio Neves,” said David Fleischer, a professor of politics at the University of Brasilia.
However, some observers speculated that a significant surge for Silva could put her ahead of Neves and even knock the pro-business centrist out in the first round of voting.
Silva has 10 days to register as the presidential candidate of Campos’ party. She is expected to do so but it is by no means a given.
In the event Silva opts against running for president, Rousseff could win the election outright on Oct. 5, analysts said.