The controversial comedian Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, also known as "Clown Tiririca”, was elected Sunday to Congress in Brazil with over 1.3 million votes. Detractors complain that the funnyman is illiterate.
According to the latest data from the Brazilian Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), "Tiririca" was elected as Federal Deputy (Member of the Brazilian Parliament) with the first national majority obtaining 6.35% of the votes in the State of Sao Paulo with more than 1.35 million preferences. Second largest majority at the national level was achieved by the former governor of Rio de Janeiro Anthony Garotinho, who received more than 690,000 votes.
Clown Tiririca campaigned on the slogan "Vote Tiririca, It can’t get any worse! He also appealed to voters by acknowledging being ignorant about politics and the role of politicians: “Do you know what a Federal Deputy does? I don’t, but I’ll find out and let you know.”
His television advertising during the political campaign showed Tiririca wearing colorful attire, a white wig and an undersized hat, joking, singing and dancing while making promises about improving the working conditions of entertainers through tax incentives for circuses and to encourage cultural activities such as music, dance and sports in the outlying districts of the state.
Tiririca Campaign website
Comedian Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, a.k.a. "Clown Tiririca”, elected to Congress in Brazil.
Oliveira was a very successful candidate. He not only obtained more votes than the sum of the preferences gathered by 7 of the presidential candidates, but the most votes among 70 candidates in the state, and the highest individual majority in the country.
Tiririca, 45, voted on Sunday in Sao Paulo, not wearing the traditional wig and clown outfit that made him popular on local television. Oliveira was protected by advisers and bodyguards to avoid direct contact with the press, which has recently been following the new "political phenomenon".
The successful clown started working as a circus comedian when he was 8 years old and went on to perform in television shows, which made him well know to the Brazilian public.
Aware of the polls that predicted a high vote for Tiririca, some political parties and more serious candidates questioned the clown’s qualifications to hold political office as a congressman arguing of alleged illiteracy. The Brazilian magazine Época published (in Portuguese) what could be considered proof of his inability to read or write, however the state electoral court rejected complaints requesting to condition Tiririca’s candidacy on his passing a formal test of literacy.
Brazilian electoral laws do not make reference to candidates being a joke, but the Brazilian Constitution does not allow illiterate candidates to hold legislative and government office.