São Paulo, Brazil:
After losing eight elections, Regina Bento Sequeira came up with a plan to win a seat on city council in Brazil: she reinvented herself as a superhero, “Captain Chloroquine”.
The name – which will actually appear on the ballot for the country’s local elections on Sunday – is a nod to its political idol, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who hails chloroquine as a miracle drug against Covid -19 despite a series of studies. finding it is inefficient.
Brazil’s peculiar practice of allowing candidates to present themselves under pseudonyms like Sequeira’s, a phenomenon that has exploded despite complaints from critics that it undermines serious politics, is almost as controversial as the highly controversial antimalarial drug. .
For Sequeira, this is the only way candidates like her – regular Brazilians without deep pockets – can hope to gain the attention of voters.
She crisscrossed Rio de Janeiro in a metallic yellow convertible sporting the nickname and handing out flyers with a photo of herself wearing a Captain Marvel outfit, asking voters to choose her for city council to fight both Covid-19 and corruption.
“It’s the only way to make my mark. I don’t work in politics, I don’t have support, I don’t have money. That’s why I chose this path,” says Sequeira , 59 years old, a lawyer at her day job.
But she says she has no illusions about her chances.
“Are you kidding?” she says when asked who she thinks will win.
“The same as always!”
Sunday’s poll will also feature Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Bin Laden, Trump and Obama among the 576,000 candidates vying for some 64,000 positions nationwide.
“Because there are a lot of candidates, people try to use names that stand out,” explains Natalia Aguiar, a political scientist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.
“The phenomenon of irreverent names could be seen as a symptom of a deeper problem: we overestimate individual candidates to the detriment of party politics,” she told AFP.
Take out the vote
Sequeira first ran for public office in 2004.
She has tried a variety of pseudonyms over the years, many of them taken from her real nickname, Zefa.
In 2016, the year the augmented reality game Pokemon Go was released, it was called “PokeZefa”.
In 2010, she was “Zefa White, fighting budget dwarves”.
In 2008, she was “Cave Zefa,” with a Flintstones-inspired logo, criticizing what she called the Stone Age level of development in her hometown, Sao Joao de Meriti.
But it was as “Super Zefa” in 2006 that she got 5,713 votes, the most votes of her career. So this year, she’s trying her luck again as a superhero.
“Chloroquine was the hot topic of the day” when registering candidates, she said.
“Everyone was talking about chloroquine, whether negatively or positively. That’s exactly what I wanted.
Does it work?
Janaine Aires, a political communication specialist, sees this trend as an extension of Brazilian nickname culture.
“It’s a characteristic of Brazilian culture: we try to have a certain proximity with our interlocutors”, explains Aires, professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.
The pseudonymous candidates all hope to emulate the legendary success of Tiririca (Grumpy), a clown elected to Congress in 2010 with the most votes in the whole country after running under the slogan “It can’t be worse”.
He has since been re-elected twice.
But political analysts say it doesn’t always work.
“There is no evidence that this strategy gives candidates an advantage,” Aguiar says.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)