2022 Race

Factory explodes during Moro visit, two dead

Factory explodes Moro visit
Sergio Moro during visit to the Cocamar plant. Photo: Campaign press office

Two workers died after a diesel fluid tank exploded in the city of Maringá, in the southern state of Paraná. The incident happened while former Justice Minister Sergio Moro — who is polling third in the presidential race — visited the Cocamar plant on Friday morning.

The incident happened at the manufacturing unit, while Mr. Moro was speaking in the plant’s office section. After his speech, the candidate was scheduled to visit the facilities and walk close to the explosion site. Mr. Moro was not hurt and offered solidarity to the victims.

The explosion killed two Cocamar employees, with the company saying that the causes of the accident are still to be investigated.

After rising to prominence due to his role as lead judge of the Operation Car Wash anti-corruption task force, Mr. Moro became Justice Minister in Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet. He stayed in office just over a year, falling out with the president — whom he accused of trying to tamper with federal investigations. In November 2021, he joined party politics with the goal of running for president.

Many believed the former judge would be able to eclipse Mr. Bolsonaro in the fight for the conservative vote, but he has not been able to crack the 10-percent mark in polls. Part of the blame is the fact that Mr. Moro is hated both by the left — for having gone after former President Lula with methods deemed biased by the Supreme Court — and by the far-right — for his falling out with Mr. Bolsonaro.

Another reason is the fact that Mr. Moro’s image is heavily associated with the fight against corruption, but that is no longer a top priority for voters. According to a recent poll, Brazilians see unemployment, inflation, and the loss of purchasing power as the biggest challenges for the next president.