Sao Paulo: Brazil`s incoming Congress decided from weekend elections will have to make room for a colourful new member: a professional clown who won the most number of votes of any of them.
Tiririca, a 45-year-old television humorist whose real name is Francisco Oliveira, scooped up 1.3 million votes in Sunday`s polls to represent Sao Paulo, the highest number of votes for any federal deputy across the country.
His TV campaign ads, featuring him dancing around in a tiny hat and multi-colored outfit with a cheesy smile, were easily the most irreverent spots in the lead-up to the general elections.
"It couldn`t get any worse. Vote for me," was his campaign slogan, which were followed by a number of riffs tapping into public cynicism about politics.
"What does a federal deputy do? I have no idea – but vote for me and I`ll let you know," went one of his ads. "Vote for me as federal deputy so I can help the needy -- especially my family," he said in another. In yet another, he took a dig at the more traditional
politicians in Brazil`s Congress, which is frequently plagued by corruption scandals.
"Are you tired of those slimy characters? Vote for Tiririca for federal deputy... If you vote for me, I will be in Brasilia, I will in reality be doing that thing for our
lives, for Brazil, for our lives, for our moment, for our something," he deadpanned.
A selection of the ads -- in Portuguese -- can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJqD6SrrOA4& Tiririca`s mocking approach to the elections wasn`t appreciated by all.
His detractors tried to have him barred from taking up his seat by lodging a lawsuit alleging he was illiterate – an automatic disqualification for a federal deputy. But a judge
threw out the case.