Macaco Tiao The Chimpanzee Mayor Candidate

 | Grace Higgins

Tiao the monkey was a chimpanzee that was extremely popular during the 80s at the Rio Janeiro Zoo. And Tiao the chimpanzee was extremely popular with the children and visitors and was actually named after the city’s patron saint, Sao Sebastiao. This chimpanzee weighed around 70 kilograms and was over 1.52 meters.

In the 1980s Tiao became a bit of a celebrity due to his bad moods and antics, in fact, he would throw mud and feces at visitors of the zoo. And the really funny part would he would get extremely agitated and angry at politicians such as Marcello Alencar.

And then a magazine called Casseta Popular did a full cover and report of him. And this was when they also published a joking report about Tiao being a candidature for the mayor, as a protest in defense of null voting. At the time in Brazil null voting was frowned upon and did not appear as an option in the voting box, null voting is the process of going to vote but not voting for any candidates because you feel that none of the options represent your views.

At the time the voting system used written ballots so it is not known the exact number of votes that Tiao received but it was estimated to be over 400,000 votes. In fact he reached third place in the election which had over 12 candidates, and this has resulted in Tiao appearing in the book of world records as the most voted for chimpanzee. But as Tiao was never a registered candidate at all, the voting committee considered that all his votes were null.

Thus he started the movement to allow null voting in Brazil and also it could even be argued that Tiao was the cause of the change in Brazil towards electronic machines for their voting system in 1996. Electronic machines made it impossible to vote for candidates that were not on the list thus making votes for non-registered candidates impossible..

Tiao quickly became nationally famous and even saw an article written about him in the French Le Monde when he passed away at the age of 34.