YOU MIGHT BE aware that the first round of Brazilian elections takes place on the 5th, but a second runoff (among the two leading candidates) is already planned for the 26th. This means 142 million people will be directed to polls, even if abroad. Two reasons cause the sudden patriotism: the obligation to vote for those between 16 and 70 years of age – there are sanctions for those who do not comply – and the desperate need to spare oneself from ridicule. As you will catch on during upcoming list, there are abounding reasons of shame (and laughter!) among the candidates for the highest offices. Ladies and gentlemen, Brazil’s ‘finest’.
A matter of faith
The number of candidates for federal deputy who are presented with religious titles – such as priest, pastor, missionary, bishop and others – grew 54% in the 2014 elections, says a report by Electoral Court. If, on the one hand, this might seem like a threat to a secular state, on the other it provides us such pearls as:
Clark Crente: Yes, it sounds like Clark Kent in Portuguese too. Only it translates “Clark the Believer”. This Superman spin-off wants to protect the Christian Family from horrible threats, such as infidelity. Bible quotes make up the story line.
Jesus: No need for further introduction.
Toninho do Diabo: Translating to “Tony of the Devil”, this self proclaimed “ambassador of Lucifer on Earth” and Trash Cinema star wants to spice things up in the capital Brasília. “Brasília is hell, and that is the place for the devil’s son”, he claims.
Celebrities ‘R’ us
A popular anecdote says “Talk well, talk badly, but talk about me”. This is even more true when campaigns roll.
Kid Bengala: “Walking Stick” Kid isn’t movement impaired, quite the contrary. The nickname humorously refers to the attribute of the country’s renowned porn star.
Doctor Rey: “Superstar” plastic surgeon Robert Rey – a.k.a. Doctor Hollywood – is another C-lister running for congress. While specializing himself in fixing and “improving” butts, boobs and faces for actresses and models, Rey also opposes gender reassignment surgery since “What god has made, the hands of man can’t change”. Oh the irony!
Marcos Pontes: While by far a more serious candidate than the aforementioned Rey and Bengala, Pontes is another one of those cases where political experience was not the party’s deciding factor. Instead, Pontes got his go at congressman because he is the first brazilian astronaut. Amusingly his campaign has nothing to do with space, astronauts or any of that – so no spacesuit on electoral period, I’m afraid.
Former BBBs: Former participants in the Brazilian edition of Big Brother are a common sight in the electoral period. This year there are four – or five if you count current congressman Jean Wyllys, running for a second term. While Wyllys has been widely considered one of the best congressman in the country, it is yet to be seen if lightning will strike twice in the same place (or reality show).Footballers – Romario has been a fortunate choice in the past. Future options look much more grimm.
In the lack own fame, how about using the notoriety of other people? Impersonators and lookalikes also compete. Jackie Chan, Bin Laden…. both Batman and Robin are looking for alternative jobs. Characters from Japan to Mexico appear in prime time television to cheer up otherwise boring campaign programming.
The presidential hippie
Eduardo Jorge is a presidential candidate. Although polls indicate that he has no real chance of getting elected, his campaign has taken over the internet and became a notorious phenomenon. His jingle would make Bob Marley proud.
He talks on the legalization of marijuana, and on the incentive of cycling as an alternative for the mobility crisis:
If things seem confusing and entertaining to you, imagine to these poor folk who have been putting up with these ads since July. There are so many candidates to choose from (and to be chosen), that Brazilians are allowed a cheat-sheet with the list of candidate numbers. Good call – considering there are a president, 81 senators, more than 500 federal deputies, hundreds of state representatives and 27 state governors to be hired.
A hint to Brazilian voters: no use on hitting the streets, standing pepper spray and tear gas, only to leave the brain at home when voting time comes. Good luck and wisdom to all.
…and a bonus video to cheer you up. No need to understand the language to have a blast.
A Disclaimer: the list was brought together by two of Pandeia’s Brazilian contributors, and has no intention of personally attacking mentioned candidates of fellow countrymen. Have some humour, people!
Written by Scheila Farias Silveira and Pedro Henrique Leal.
Scheila Farias Silveira is a Brazilian journalist, currently based in Germany. She is a public affairs specialist working with sustainability, corporate social responsibility and social management.
Pedro Henrique Leal is a brazilian journalist and human rights activist, currently based in Wales. He writes mostly about human rights and social issues for independent websites À Margem and Coletivo Metranca.