RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The death of presidential candidate Eduardo Campos on Wednesday morning has caused commotion in Brazil's political arena, bringing more uncertainty to the country's presidential election, which will be held in early October.
Campos, 49, died in a plane crash in Santos, Sao Paulo state, as he traveled to attend campaign events.
Dozens of Brazilian politicians have lamented Campos' passing, and expressed their condolences to the family.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff declared three days of official mourning and suspended campaign events for the period.
She also released a statement saying "all of Brazil is in mourning, we lost a great Brazilian, we lost a great colleague," and recalling that they served together in the cabinet of then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
"Eduardo was a great political leader. We knew that our eventual political disagreements would always be smaller than the mutual respect which was characteristic of our friendship," said Rousseff.
Lula da Silva released a statement praising Campos' character and recalling his years of service as his science and technology minister from 2004 to 2006.
"The country has lost a politician of rare and extraordinary quality. I had the joy of counting on his intelligence and dedication in the years he served as our science and technology minister. Throughout his life, Eduardo fought to turn Brazil into a fairer, more dignified country," he said.
Presidential candidate Aecio Neves, who ranks second in polls, canceled all campaign events on Wednesday and released a statement in which he called Campos "a friend."
"Brazil lost one of its most talented politicians, who always fought with idealism for everything he believed in. It is an irreparable, incomprehensible loss," he said.
Also on the day, Campos' running mate Marina Silva expressed at a news conference her deep regrets at the situation, and called Campos' loss a tragedy.
"I ask God to support Renata, Ze, Joao, Duda, Pedro and little Miguel," she said, referring to Campos' wife and five children. "This is undoubtedly a tragedy that makes us deeply sad, and which I know all Brazilians are sharing with us."
A first time runner for the presidential election, Campos, from Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), was ranking third in all election polls, after President Dilma Rousseff of Workers' Party (PT) who is trying for her second term and is in the lead, and Aecio Neves from Brazilians Social Democracy Party (PSDB).
Though Campos had only nine percent of voting intentions, according to the latest Ibope poll, released last week, he was considered a significant force in the country's political scenario, representing a "third way", an alternative to the PT-PSDB duality which has ruled Brazil for two decades: the PSDB governed Brazil from 1995 to 2002, and PT has held the presidency since 2003.
According to Brazil's electoral law, the PSB has 10 days to decide on a new candidate. The most obvious option would be Campos' running mate, Marian Silva, former senator and environment minister.
Silva ran for the Green Party (PV) in the 2010 elections and ranked third, receiving 19.6 million votes, and is considered a force to be reckoned with.
However, Silva is a newcomer at the PSB and she only became affiliated to the PSB in October 2013, after her request to found a new party, to be called Sustainability Network, was denied by the Superior Electoral Court.
As soon as the creation of the Network was approved, Silva would leave to run her own party. This would not be considered as a problem when she was just a vice-president candidate, but could be problematic if she runs for president.
On the other hand, the PSB could find a politician native to the party to take over Campos' position, maintaining Silva as VP candidate. However, Campos was considered the party's rising star and so far, local media did not speculate on any possible names, which may indicate that there are no strong figures to replace Campos.
Another alternative would be an alliance with either the PT or the PSDB.
The PSB was actually in the government coalition until in 2013, when differences of opinion caused the party to break ties with PT's government and decided to have their own candidate this year.
Of course, the party could always decide not to have a candidate and not support any of the other runners either, but that alternative seems unlikely.
It is not known which step the PSB will take. The party has already stated that this is time for mourning, not for deciding the path of the campaign, but a final decision on the matter must, after all, be announced in the next few days.