Opinion: Joke Candidates in Brazil Election

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America is not the only country in the world gearing up for an election this year and Brazil had arguably the most colorful list of candidates around. Among others looking to lead Brazil or its various cities, men going by the names of Batman, Robin and Osama Bin Laden are all throwing their names into the election race.

To be specific, there were five men running under “Batman,” one MacGyver, and 16 candidates using the last name Obama.

“It’s a marketing strategy, a political program, because if I said Geraldo Custodio, no one was going to recognize me,” driver’s education instructor and Piracicaba city council candidate Geraldo Wolverine told The New York Times.

All is not lost for the oddly named candidates running for positions in office however, like Januario de Almedia A.K.A. Obama BH who is running for councilman of Belo Horizonte.

“There is so much corruption in politics that people sometimes prefer to vote for a candidate who isn’t a real person. I used this name because I think it can bring me votes but I need to separate just being a body double from being a politician,” Almedia told CNN.

From what The New York Times reported in their article featuring the man going by Wolverine, this name changing is completely legal through out the country. Just because something is legal however, does not make it right.

On one hand, this kind of publicity does draw attention to Brazil’s democratic process, but it undermines it more than anything else if names like Bin Laden are on the ballot. It may not be the case in the country, but the outside world will have a hard time taking Brazilian elections seriously as long as this type of thing continues to occur.

It’s one thing for crazies like Vermin Supreme to run a grassroots campaign for the American presidency. It’s a whole other thing for a popular Brazilian television clown to create a campaign commercial and subsequently lead the congressional election voting for a period of time.

With more than 20 political parties active in the country, it’s hard to believe that Brazil wouldn’t have a few Vermin Supreme-types come out of the woodwork but 16 people running with the name Obama alone is quite a bit more than a few.

It’s great to see people, like Rousseff who seem dedicated to bettering the country put into office, but there needs to be some restrictions as far as who can run; starting with making candidates run under their real names.

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