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Brazil: Federal Deputy with the Most Votes May Lose His Seat Due to Illiteracy

(Oct. 7, 2010) The Federal Deputy (Deputado Federal) elected with the most votes in the Brazilian general elections of October 2010, who represents the State of São Paulo, may lose his seat in the Chamber of Deputies because he is being accused of being illiterate. Article 14, section 4, of the Brazilian Federal Constitution requires all elected officials to be able to read and write. (Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil de 1988, Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil website,

Tiririca, the alias used by Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva as a professional clown and comedian, received more than 1.3 million votes, far more than any other candidate received. However, the Public Prosecutor's Electoral Office (Ministério Público Eleitoral) has formally accused Tiririca of being illiterate, due to what is believed to be a forged document filed with the Electoral Court when he registered his candidacy. The formal accusation filed by the Public Prosecutor's Electoral Office is a supplement to an earlier one, which accuses Tiririca of omitting patrimony on his tax returns, an offense punishable with up to five years in prison and a fine. Tiririca may defend himself against the illiteracy accusation at the Electoral Regional Tribunal of the State of São Paulo. (Justiça Eleitoral Recebe Denúncia Contra Tiririca em SP, JORNAL DO BRASIL (Oct. 10, 2010),