Tiririca to leave big shoes to fill

“Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva never expected to actually be elected to Brazil’s Congress. When he ran for a seat in 2010, he used his clown name, Tiririca, and wore a tiny orange hat and a blond wig in his campaign TV spots. Between singing and dancing, he made some very odd campaign promises.

“What does a federal deputy do? I don’t really know. But vote for me, and I’ll tell you!”

“I promise to help those in need,” he said, in a nod to political corruption. “Especially my own family.”

The clips were a hit. Silva received more votes than any other congressional candidate and was elected to Brazil’s equivalent of the House of Representatives. He was boosted, analysts say, both by his comedic popularity and by a deep anti-political streak that exists in Brazil and many other democratic nations, similar to that which led to the election of comedian Beppe Grillo this year in Italy.

Initially, Silva’s election annoyed Brazil’s political establishment no end. But when he arrived in Brasilia, he did something few expected. He took his job very seriously.

“In my life I have never slacked off at anything,” says Silva, 47, sporting bleached blond hair and beard, orange tie and matching orange shoes. “If I had, I never would have succeeded as a comic artist. I didn’t come here to clown around.”

Yet after only three years, Silva has thrown in the towel, saying he is deeply frustrated by government gridlock and bureaucracy. He plans to quit rather than seek a second term in next year’s election.

“You can’t get anything done in here,” he says. “Nothing gets done. I’ll get more done as a clown.” – LA Times (more here)

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