No luck for ‘Obamas’ in Brazil Elections

2 Nov

SAO PAULO, Brazil -Maybe they should have tried “John McCain.”

At least eight “Barack Obamas” who borrowed the Democratic presidential candidate’s name to run in Brazilian local elections lost.

The defeat of the so-called Obamas came in municipal elections on Sunday that selected mayors and council members in more than 5,000 cities across the nation — and saw the ruling Workers Party and allies of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva make gains across the nation.

Brazilian electoral law allows candidates to put any name on the ballot as long as it isn’t offensive. Some used the name Bin Laden, and others resorted to French soccer player Zinedine Zidane. No one was known to use the name of McCain, the Republican presidential candidate.

“The name Obama definitely helped,” said Claudio Henrique dos Anjos, who used it to run for mayor of Belford Roxo on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. “It opened the doors for me to talk about projects. It brought a positive result.”

But official results show he didn’t get a single vote, though he disputes the count.

“I’ll still keep the political name Obama,” Dos Anjos said. “Not only because of the admiration I have for him, but also because it is the nickname the people gave to me. It’s how they know me.”

Some Brazilian candidates mistakenly think they can attract more voters by using the quirk in the ballot law, said political scientist David Fleischer said.

“They are opportunists trying to use popular figures to their advantage,” Fleischer said. “It doesn’t work.”

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