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German satire party's Nazi name stunt puts Goebbels on ballot paper

Martin Sonneborn
Martin Sonneborn Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By AFP
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German satire party's Nazi name stunt puts Goebbels on ballot paper

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Candidates called Goebbels, Hess and Eichmann are on the ballot for German voters in Sunday’s European elections — thanks to a left-wing satirical party.

Die Partei — “the party” — has unveiled pamphlets listing candidates whose surnames match those of Hitler's top henchmen and senior Nazis.

The group is led by Martin Sonneborn, former editor of satirical magazine Titanic, who was elected to the European Parliament in 2014 thanks to rules that favour smaller parties.

Among its policies, Die Partei proposes to confiscate the driving licenses of climate change deniers.

The German system does not provide a minimum threshold for entry to the European Parliament, unlike other countries where it is necessary to reach 3 or 5% to be elected.

Die Partei, which obtained 0.96% of votes in 2014, is therefore likely to have at least one elected member.

Not everyone was amused at the stunt. Karin Prien, Schleswig-Holstein state’s minister for education, science and culture as well as a speaker for the CDU party’s Jewish Forum, argued that European elections must not be used as a vehicle for satire.

“To claim that one wants to fight right-wing populists in this way is either naive, a lie or at least not very intelligent,” said Prien.

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