No joke as clown is Brazil's most voted congressman

SAO PAULO Sun Oct 3, 2010 10:52pm EDT

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Voters the world over complain about having clowns for politicians, but Brazilians embraced the idea on Sunday by sending a real one to Congress with more votes than any other candidate.

Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, better known by his clown name Tiririca, received more than 1.3 million votes in Sao Paulo state in Brazil's presidential and congressional elections. That was more than double the votes of the second-placed candidate in Brazil's most populous state.

Tiririca caught the attention of disillusioned voters by asking for their support with the humorous slogan: "It can't get any worse" and a promise to do nothing more in Congress than report back to them on how politicians spend their time.

"What does a congressman do? The truth is I don't know, but vote for me and I'll tell you," the 45-year-old said in his campaign advertisements.

The clown, whose stage name means "grumpy," usually appears in public wearing a blond wig, a red hat and a garish outfit. He survived a last-minute attempt by public prosecutors to bar him from running because of evidence that he is illiterate.

His candidacy may not have been as spontaneous or innocent as it might appear.

Tiririca's well-financed campaign will help elect other politicians because under Brazil's election rules he can pass his substantial excess votes on to other candidates in his coalition, which includes the ruling Workers' Party.

(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Terry Wade)

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Comments (3)
ThiagoLemos wrote:
As a Brazilian citizen, this almost makes me want to renounce my citizenship. I think this reflects the compulsory vote in Brazil and how any idiot can hold power in Brazil.

Oct 03, 2010 11:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Andreecals wrote:
In the Watchman comic series there´s a character named Comedian, and there´s a quote from him that makes special sense when you see Tiririca in the same role as his: “Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.”
Well, if Brazil´s political scenario weren´t already very bad, Tiririca would never stand a chance, or even be considered. Hopefully, by showing everyone who are the clowns, people will notice how deep they are in this and try to change. Well…Hopefully.

Oct 03, 2010 12:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Custodio wrote:
And people still asks me why I left Brazil. What a joke!

Oct 04, 2010 1:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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