SAO PAULO — A professional clown who won a seat in Brazil's Congress has to disprove a lawsuit claiming he can't read or write before taking up his mandate, a judge has ruled.
Francisco Oliveira, a 45-year-old television comic better known by his stage name Tiririca, has 10 days to show he is not illiterate, the judge for the central electoral zone in Sao Paulo, Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira, ruled late Monday.
The judge overturned another magistrate's decision to throw out the lawsuit after hearing that a police forensic examination raised suspicions over whether it was Tiririca's handwriting on his official electoral application.
Under Brazil's constitution, federal deputies in Congress have to be literate to pass laws.
Tiririca became internationally famous after he successfully won a congressional seat representing Sao Paulo in general elections last Sunday.
He picking up 1.3 million votes -- the most of any deputy nationwide.
In the campaigning, his TV ads stood out for their irreverent humor and Tiririca's tounge-in-cheek slogan, "It couldn't get any worse. Vote for me."
In the spots, he is seen dancing around with a cheesy grin, in a colorful outfit, blond wig and undersize hat, making fun of the legislative institution he was aiming to join.
"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.
A selection of the ads -- in Portuguese -- can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJqD6SrrOA4&
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »