Brazil has decided to send in the clowns. (via Reuters)
While yesterday’s elections failed to deliver a new president—that will be decided in a run-off at the end of the month—there were victors. Among them was Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, better and more amusingly known as Tiririca (“Grumpy”). He was elected to Brazil’s lower house of congress, the Chamber of Deputies, whose 513 members serve four-year terms. And he is a professional clown/TV comedian.
Tiririca garnered an impressive 1.3 million votes, more than any other congressional candidate, in a country where voting is compulsory for those 18-70. He wasn’t the only celebrity or bizarre contender competing—as The Economist points out, the huge pool also included soccer star Romário and a 23-year-old running as the “pear-shaped woman”—but he may be the funniest. Or saddest, depending on what mood you’re in.
His slogan was “It can’t get any worse,” and he promised that, if elected as a federal deputy for the state of São Paulo, he would find out what it is a federal deputy does. You don’t have to speak Portuguese to appreciate the ads:
If you can’t get enough of that campaign jingle, you can download it from his website. Enjoy it (and headlines like “Brazil Elects Non-Metaphorical Clown to Congress”) while you can; Tiririca’s literacy has been questioned, and he could lose his seat if it turns out he can’t read and write.
Also, there may be more funny business than immediately meets the eye. According to Reuters, “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.”
The circus continues.