Clown elected to Brazil's Congress must prove literacy

Click to follow
The Independent US

Grumpy the clown has been elected to Brazil's Congress. Now he has to prove that he can read and write.

The Sao Paulo Electoral Court held an exam for the congressman-elect yesterday to determine if he met a constitutional requirement that federal lawmakers be literate. Details of the test were not immediately available from the court.

Francisco Silva became famous as Tiririca – "Grumpy" in Portuguese – and received about 1.3 million votes, nearly twice as many as the next-highest vote-getter in last month's congressional elections.

His campaign drew millions of viewers on the internet, with slogans such as "It can't get any worse" and "What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don't know. But vote for me and you'll find out."

But a less humorous element emerged: allegations that Mr Silva, like 10 per cent of Brazilians, is illiterate. Judge Aloisio Silveira ruled there were discrepancies between the handwriting on Mr Silva's application to run for Congress and on the document in which he swears he can read and write and in autographs he gave to fans. He ordered Mr Silva to demonstrate he can read and write.

Mr Silva has attributed the discrepancies to the fact that his wife helped him write his application because he has trouble holding a pen firmly.