BRASILIA Aug 13 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
In the event Silva opts against running for president,
Rousseff could win the election outright on Oct. 5, analysts
In a runoff between Rousseff and Neves, Fleischer says more
of Silva's supporters would vote for Neves. Even though they
might not like his PSDB party, "they like Rousseff even less."
Brazil's financial markets were thrown into turmoil on
Wednesday as some investors sold stocks on fears that Silva
could edge out Neves, who has promised more market-friendly
Neves has drawn closer to Rousseff in recent weeks but his
campaign has so far failed to capitalize on a widespread desire
for change among discontented Brazilians that is reflected in
Rousseff's high rejection numbers.
A Silva candidacy "would make the election much more
competitive," said Joao Augusto de Castro Neves, of the
political risk consultancy Eurasia. "It would make the election
more difficult for Neves as both Neves and Silva have chances to
go to a run-off vote."
In a brief news conference with PSB party leaders, a
grief-stricken Silva expressed condolences to Campos' family but
made no mention of her political plans.
The daughter of illiterate rubber-tappers, Silva grew up in
the rainforest, learned to read as a teenager, made it to
university and became Brazil's youngest senator at age 36. In
the 2010 presidential election, she ran on an environmental
platform and came third with 19.6 million votes.
An evangelical with a feisty campaign style, Silva is an
unconventional figure in Brazilian politics. Her conservationist
advocacy has earned the wrath of Brazil's powerful agribusiness
sector, yet Silva can appeal to conservative voters with her
defense of family values and opposition to abortion.
A poll last week showed Neves has 23 percent of voter
support behind 38 percent for Rousseff. The IBOPE poll showed
Neves had narrowed Rousseff's lead in a likely second-round
runoff to just six points.
But if Silva decides not to step into Campos' shoes,
Rousseff stands to gain most, said political scientist Claudio
Couto of the Getulio Vargas Foundation think tank.
"If she does not run, the chances increase that the election
will be decided in the first round," Couto said.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Jeferson Ribeiro; Editing by
Kieran Murray and Andrew Hay)