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Brazil's wacky parliamentary election race

Brazil's wacky parliamentary election race
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While the traditional media has been focussing on Brazil’s presidential vote, the wacky race for parliamentary seats has dominated the blogosphere.

Legally, each candidate gets free television air time for their campaign advertisements, based on their party’s representation in Congress. Hence a colourful collection of characters presenting weird and wonderful campaign pledges in far from traditional TV spots.

A lookalike of US President Barack Obama is among those featuring in the promotional ads! But this is no joke. In the case of Tiririca, a professional clown, polls suggest he is within reach of winning his seat in Sao Paolo. The same goes for ex-World Cup footballer Romario in his home state of Rio de Janeiro.

Some say these unusual candidates are a healthy sign of democracy. Many analysts describe their popularity as a sign of protest by people fed up with the corruption scandals that regularly tarnish Brazil’s political system.

But others are not impressed, viewing it as a mockery of the country’s institutions.