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Brazil Clown Ruled Eligible to Take Seat in Congress

Brazilian clown Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, who goes by the stage name of Tiririca, can read and write enough Portuguese to take his seat in congress, the Sao Paulo electoral court said.

Tiririca, whose 1.35 million votes led all candidates in the Oct. 3 congressional elections, was accused by a prosecutor of forging a document to prove he could read and write. Brazilian law bans illiterate people from public office.

“A rudimentary reading and writing knowledge is enough,” the electoral court said in a statement posted on its website today. Tiririca has “a minimal understanding of the content of the text, in spite of his difficulties in writing.”

Tiririca won the lower house seat for the state of Sao Paulo after appearing as a clown in campaign ads and using the punch line “It can’t get any worse.”

He will be among elected deputies who will be confirmed on Dec. 17, the electoral court said, citing the decision by Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira. Lawmakers take office Feb. 1.

The public prosecutor can appeal the decision, a press officer at the court, who can’t be identified because of internal policy, said.

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