In Brazil, almost anyone can enter politics as long as they meet these conditions:

  1. must have Brazilian nationality or be naturalized;
  2. be in full exercise of political rights;
  3. be listed in the Electoral Court;
  4. having an electoral domicile in the constituency at least one year before the election and being affiliated to a political party at least one year before the election.
  5. Minimum Age: 18

It is very common for our population to elect joke candidates, which, in general, may not contribute so much as other people. For example, Tiririca, an illiterate comedian, got elected in 2010 and so far only approved one law project (out of 57), which is a complement to an existing culture project.

Also, in Brazil we can elect people with any criminal history/records, and those names usually are involved in corruption once they are elected.

Is there a country that has a "filtering" system to allow only more "prepared" candidates to be elected, e.g. one that would prevent satirical candidates from being in the election?

If so, what were the results of implementing the system?

  • What if the general population in some area is illiterate, for example? Shouldn't they be fairly represented? Jan 3, 2020 at 18:31
  • 2
    Hong Kong is an example. The main result is that whoever controls the filtering rules rules. Jan 3, 2020 at 20:43
  • 2
    Most systems have a number of signatures and a deposit required. I think it's totally valid for the public to elect whoever they wa as long as it's not under false pretenses.
    – pjc50
    Jan 3, 2020 at 21:14
  • 1
    North Korea has "elections" where the only candidates are pawns of Kim Jong-Un, as an example. Similar idea in Cuba and other places that try to appear democratic to their citizens. Jan 4, 2020 at 0:12
  • Want to filter out illiterates? Use a literacy test!
    – Golden Cuy
    Jan 4, 2020 at 0:16

1 Answer 1


While in centuries past, being openly opposed to democracy was well within the Overton window, these days it is generally not seen as acceptable. Most dictatorships at least pretend to be democratic; even North Korea styles itself the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea". However, each election has only one candidate, chosen by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. This is the general pattern for Communist countries: lip service to democracy, but in practice no real choice.

In Iran, all candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council (and be men). While the Guardian Council gave Iranians more choice than North Koreans got, with six candidates approved for the 2107 presidential election, it was still a highly restricted field.

In Russia, candidates must fulfill official restrictions, such as being a citizen of the Russian Federation who is at least 35 years old and has "permanently resided" in Russia for at least 10 years, and be nominated by a faction of the State Duma or receive 100,000 signatures (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Russia). There are also unofficial requirements, such as not having unfortunate encounters with polonium.

In the US, there are a variety of restrictions, depending on the position. The president must be at least 35 years old and be a "natural born citizen", which is generally interpreted as meaning a citizen at birth (strangely, many people brought this up as an issue with regard to Obama's candidacy, despite him having a Hawaii birth certificate, but there was little argument that McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone, was not eligible). Some states, such as Florida, have restrictions on felons running for office. There are also some states that have restrictions on atheists running for office, but those are not enforced and would certainly be held unconstitutional if they were.

This is just a small sampling of the restrictions around the world; with hundreds of countries, it would be a rather large task to catalog them all.

  • I was thinking about filtering only by beneficence, for example, excluding illiterates, ex-criminals, requiring some type of study degree. But as you and @PatriciaShanahan mentioned, who creates the rules... rules. Thank you for your answer, clarified a lot!
    – RA828
    Jan 6, 2020 at 13:00
  • @renanAlmeida828 Presumably, the filters are justified on the basis of alleged beneficence. Not being a communist/Muslim/what have you is evidence of moral degeneracy. Jan 6, 2020 at 20:00

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