The election campaign in Germany is departing more and more from its normally staid round of speeches and handshakes.
It began with a revealing poster promoting a Berlin hopeful for the CDU – the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – claiming “We have more to offer.” The candidate, Vera Lengsfeld, claims it has attracted 17000 hits on her website. “I’m a little surprised myself at how well it’s worked. Of course we knew there would be a lot of attention, but this overwhelming response was way beyond our expectations,” says Lengsfeld. But pollsters question if the billboards will attract non-CDU voters. On the fringes of the campaign a party called simply The Party hopes to inject some humour. It is led by the former editor of Germany’s best known satirical magazine. “There’s virtually nothing between the parties. We want to be different. ‘We are the party to split the country again,” said Martin Sonneborn. Their tongue-in-cheek idea is to create jobs by re-building the Berlin Wall. But not everyone finds it funny. “They’ve lost their marbles. They should see a shrink. They’re spouting nonsense,” was one reaction. But The Party is too small to take part in the vote on September 27th, and will not be occupying any seats in the Reichstag.