A study of Brazil’s Parliament has found that the most dedicated lawmaker in the government branch, with a 100% attendance record during his first tenure, is a man known by voters as “Tiririca,” or “Grumpy,” the Clown.
According to Brazilian publication El Confidencial, Tiririca– real name Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva– never missed a single session of Congress between 2010-2014. He was reelected in 2014, and continues to maintain his outstanding attendance record in a legislature where some lawmakers are absent for up to 25% of their tenures, an entire year of absences. Argentine news outlet Infobae notes that this current session of Congress is breaking absentee records, making Tiririca, who was found to be illiterate after his first election, the most dependable member of Congress.
Tiririca did not miss a single session of Congress during his first four-year term, the only Congressman not to do so. “He goes to every session, even though his real influence in the Chamber is very reduced,” says journalist Fábio Góis, a writer interviewed about the strange phenomenon because he was the first to notice that, no matter what he was visiting Congress to cover, Tiririca was always there. Góis notes that Tiririca often sits in the area reserved for the public to watch sessions of Congress, and not with lawmakers themselves.
“I have interviewed him multiple times and he is pretty inexpressive,” Góis says. “He does not discuss the issues of major interest in the country, nor does he take the floor to make relevant speeches.” Nonetheless, Góis describes Tiririca as “setting an example” simply for showing up to work every day.
Tiririca has sponsored eight bills since being elected; being a clown, after all, six of those bills were related to circus regulation.
Tiririca the Clown’s election in 2010 was a major controversy for Brazil. He received 1.3 million votes— almost twice that of his competitor– despite being found illiterate (he has since learned to write his name during his tenure). His campaign slogan was “It can’t get any worse,” and he told voters in commercials: “What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don’t know. But vote for me and you’ll find out.”
During his reelection campaign, he took to impersonating legendary Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos in his campaign ads:
In 2014, Tirirca was reelected in a campaign season that, according to Agence France-Presse, featured “five Barack Obamas, three Osama Bin Ladens, a Jesus, a Wonder Woman, a Brazilian 007, a Hamburger Face, a Rambo and a Crazy Dick.”
For reasons that are not completely clear, Osama bin Laden has become synonymous with nightlife in some sectors of Brazil, with a number of “Bin-Laden themed bars” popping up during the 2014 World Cup. The original bar owner to rename his venue “Bin Laden Bar” says he did so because he was legitimately confused for the terrorist mastermind– and almost arrested– on so many occasions that he opted to make a joke and some money out of it.