Watch: Undertaker turns to gallows humour in campaign for Greek local elections

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By Lindsey Johnstone  with Reuters
Undertaker Konstantinos Baboulas' surname means 'Bogeyman' in Greek
Undertaker Konstantinos Baboulas' surname means 'Bogeyman' in Greek   -  Copyright  Reuters

Springing out of a coffin, Greek undertaker Konstantinos Baboulas shouts out his election campaign slogan: "To support Baboulas means to win life, because otherwise..." and gestures ominously to the coffin.

Baboulas – whose surname means "Bogeyman" in Greek – has turned to gallows humour to win votes for a city council seat in local elections on May 26 in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

"The only way to demystify death is with humour," he says, displaying the coffin-shaped car air fresheners he hands out to prospective voters and campaign posters designed to look like public funeral announcements.

Baboulas says his job has taught him valuable lessons which he can adapt to politics. "We don't know what tomorrow will bring, so we must be good people, and [leave] this impression when we are gone," he explains.

As for the nominative determinism suggested by his surname, he says it has helped him, but that really his success comes down to giving good service.

"If we did not do a good job it would be our professional gravestone!" he grins.

Baboulas says he was always complaining about local government, so one day decided to do something about it instead.

"I certainly hope that this political battle, which is my first, will not be my political death as well," he muses.

His wife was a little worried about how the somewhat macabre humour would go down, he says, but people have reacted positively to the campaign.

Video editor • Christophe Pitiot