Brazil’s Top Vote Getter, a Clown, May Be Barred from Congress for Illiteracy

Brazilian clown Tiririca Brazilian clown Tiririca, the candidate who won the most votes as House representative in Brazil’s Sunday general elections will have to show electoral authorities that he can read and write to avoid his electoral victory being annulled, an elections official said.

Electoral Judge Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira received Tuesday a complaint from the prosecutor’s office accusing Tiririca of falsifying the document he presented to show that he is not illiterate, a requirement for all candidates who have no record of studies in Brazil.

“The examination by the Criminology Institute reveals a difference in handwriting, which leads to a reasonable doubt about his eligibility to be elected,” the judge said in a statement released by the Sao Paulo Regional Electoral Tribunal.

Brazil bars illiterates from running for office, so that candidates who cannot show any record of studies must present a declaration that they know how to read and write, written in their own hand.

The prosecutor’s office presented a document supposedly written by Tiririca in handwriting different from that on the declaration saying he is not illiterate, which, according to handwriting experts involved in the accusation, could have been written by another person.

Tiririca, whose real name is Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, will have a period of 10 days to present his defense, the judge said.

The forging of documents in elections in Brazil is punishable by up to five years in jail plus the payment of a fine, the statement said.

Tiririca, a member of the minority Party of the Republic, or PR, was the biggest winner in all Brazil Sunday for the lower house of Congress, garnering 1,353,820 votes.

He also topped the result obtained four years ago by the candidate who won the most votes in those elections, Paulo Maluf, who polled 739,000 votes.

In all the country’s democratic history, Tiririca trails only the late lawmaker Enéas Carneiro, who in the 2002 elections tallied 1.5 million votes.

The clown, who has no experience at all in politics, based his campaign on his ignorance about how government institutions work and his dislike of the work legislators are doing.

One of his electoral slogans actually said “What does a federal lawmaker do? Really, I have no idea, but vote for me and I’ll let you know.”

Another tag line in his campaign ads asks for votes with the argument that Brazilian politics “couldn’t be worse than they are now.

“Born in 1965 in the northeastern state of Ceará, Tiririca is a personality known in Brazil for his antics on the TV comedy program “Show do Tom.”

Mercopress

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