The Best Fake Candidate in Germany

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Filed under: Political Pranks

Submitted by Peter Markus:

Germany: Fake candidate polls well
by Isabelle de Pommereau
September 10, 2009

article_photo1_200Frankfurt, Germany – Life these days isn”™t easy for Angela Merkel and her social democratic challenger in the Sept. 27 elections for chancellorship, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

As the parliamentary elections near, polls reveal people feel this is one of the most boring election campaigns in memory. The Germans just don”™t care about their politicians.

Except, perhaps, for one. His name is Horst Schlà¤mmer and he”™s hugely popular these days. Like Mr. Steinmeier and Ms. Merkel, he wants the chancellor”™s job – but with his own party, which stands for “Left, Liberal, Conservative, and a bit ecological,” and a platform that includes free plastic surgery for all, voting age at 12, and a monthly wage of 2,500 euros from cradle to grave.

According to a recent poll by Stern Magazine, 18 percent of those surveyed could see themselves voting for Mr. Schlà¤mmer. If only they could. But Schlà¤mmer cannot be elected. He is a fictitious candidate played by one of Germany”™s best-known comedians, Hape Kerkeling, in a new film that mocks this year”™s campaign.

In the film, Schlà¤mmer, the unhappy deputy editor of a daily paper in a depressed town, decides to run for chancellor. Perhaps more than his political platform, everything about him – his dialect, his ugly moustache, and his habit of burping in public – makes him unconventional. His campaign slogan: “Yes, weekend!”

Since its release in the heat of the campaign earlier this month, “I”™m a candidate,” has created a media buzz that”™s stirring up an election discourse observers say is devoid of substance.

“Horst Schlà¤mmer is the right man with the right message at the right time,” says Bernd Gà¤bler, a media specialist for the magazine Stern. “It”™s a liberating laughter at a time when people feel politicians don”™t answer major questions, he”™s a parody of a campaign that leaves behind a huge vacuum.”