Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Crunch time
There have been some weird, weird moments in the lead up Germany's election
Promises of nudist areas, Calvin Klein-esque posters, and a satirical political party – the bizarre bits of Germany’s election campaigns.

GERMAN ELECTION PUNTERS may have already placed firm bets on Chancellor Angela Merkel to win her fourth term tomorrow, but Germany’s general election is still turning up surprises as politicians scramble for attention.

Here’s some of the stranger moments that have made up Germany’s election campaign.

Election campaign CDU in Hamburg with German Chancellor Merkel Daniel Reinhardt via PA Images German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a campaign event. Daniel Reinhardt via PA Images

Playing favourites

She has had heated exchanges with political opponents, fielded thousands of questions from journalists, but never has Merkel revealed so much about herself as she did in a unique press conference last Sunday.

Through 57 questions fired off by children, many aged under 12, we learnt that Merkel’s favourite animals are “hedgehogs, elephants and hares”, her favourite food is “spaghetti bolognese”, and her favourite hobby is “growing potatoes”.

In August, she finally revealed her secret recipe for her famously good potato soup to Bunte magazine: “I always pound the potatoes with a potato masher, not a blender.”

“Then there’ll always be a few lumps left,” said Merkel, known affectionately to Germans as “Mutti” (which translates as ‘mummy’).

She prefers to dress in a “nice cardigan” and “very comfortable shoes” and would have liked to be an “astronaut flying over the Earth”.

Diet like a poster boy

Election poster Christian Lindner Hauke-Christian Dittrich via PA Images An election poster oft the candidate Christian Lindner. Hauke-Christian Dittrich via PA Images

The leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner, whose moody black-and-white campaign posters have been compared to Calvin Klein advertisements (or mocked as promotions for dating websites), has revealed how he fought teenage flab.

“At 14, I weighed almost 100 kilos, but was at least 10 centimetres smaller than today,” the 38-year-old told newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

After a strict regimen of jogging in forests and a radical crispbread diet, Lindner said he shed 30 kilos.

“I’m now 1.86 metres and weigh 80 kilos,” said Lindner, whose campaign posters have also been turned into memes by social media users with slogans like “Every 11 seconds, a liberal falls in love with himself”.

Germany: German Federal Elections - Election Posters Emmanuele Contini via PA Images Emmanuele Contini via PA Images

Even Social Democratic Party candidate Martin Schulz, Merkel’s main rival, joined in poking fun at Lindner’s campaign posters, saying “he is always looking down in such a funny way on the posters”.

Almost like he is ashamed. That can be somewhat understandable, when one is being photographed in his undershirt.

Naked ambition

Far-left Linke candidate Gregor Gysi has bemoaned the demise of nudism in Germany and is campaigning for its revival, he told Playboy magazine in August.

German prize 'Orden wider den tierischen Ernst' Henning Kaiser via PA Images Gregor Gysi during the award ceremony of the German prize Orden wider den tierischen Ernst, which translates as 'Medal against Deadly Seriousness' in Aachen, Germany. Henning Kaiser via PA Images

“I’ll check with our local politicians to see if they are offering nudism in their localities,” he told the Bild daily, complaining that naturists were increasingly under threat.

But when asked if he would shed his clothes to sunbathe by a Berlin lake, Gysi said: “There are limits to everything.”

If at all, nudism would only take place for me at home.

The nudist movement known in German as FKK – short for “Frei-Koerper-Kultur” or free body culture – was especially popular in former communist East Germany, where people celebrated it as a rare expression of personal liberty in an otherwise highly oppressive society.

Beaches along the northern coast of Germany still offer “FKK areas”.

Beer price brakes

Want a cap on beer prices or feel the urge to blame Russia for everything – from broken mobile phones to train delays and unpaid rent?

Poster campaign Die Partei Maurizio Gambarini via PA Images Party leader Martin Sonneborn poses in front of his party's election poster. Maurizio Gambarini via PA Images

Then satirical outfit Die Partei (The Party) might be for you, after it made these promises, along with dismantling taxes, in its manifesto for its third attempt to win a seat in the Bundestag.

The party started in 2004 and founder Martin Sonneborn won a seat in the European Parliament in 2014 with absurdist slogans like “No to Europe, Yes to Europe”.

Its candidate for chancellor, comedian Serdar Somuncu, has promised to rebuild the Berlin Wall with funds from east Germans, as well as orchestrate a fake coup in order to consolidate power.

With jibes against US President Donald Trump and Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Die Partei lets voters decide whether to take it seriously.

Dance, dance, dance

Upstart Berlin party The Urban are seeking to draw votes through the love of hip-hop.

“It’s not about screaming ‘Yo!’ or drawing graffiti on the party programme,” said the party, calling itself a “global movement of emancipation” that seeks social justice and equality.

© AFP 2017

Read: A debate today is Merkel’s opponent’s ‘last chance’ to attract voters in German elections

Read: Merkel on course for crushing election victory after rival ‘hardly able to land a punch’ in debate

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel