â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
As the parliamentary elections near, polls reveal people feel this is one of the most boring election campaigns in memory. The Germans just donâ€™t care about their politicians.
Except, perhaps, for one. His name is Horst SchlĂ¤mmer and heâ€™s hugely popular these days. Like Mr. Steinmeier and Ms. Merkel, he wants the chancellorâ€™s job â€“ but with his own party, which stands for â€śLeft, Liberal, Conservative, and a bit ecological,â€ť 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. SchlĂ¤mmer. If only they could. But SchlĂ¤mmer cannot be elected. He is a fictitious candidate played by one of Germanyâ€™s best-known comedians, Hape Kerkeling, in a new film that mocks this yearâ€™s campaign.
In the film, SchlĂ¤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 â€“ his dialect, his ugly moustache, and his habit of burping in public â€“ makes him unconventional. His campaign slogan: â€śYes, weekend!â€ť
Since its release in the heat of the campaign earlier this month, â€śIâ€™m a candidate,â€ť has created a media buzz thatâ€™s stirring up an election discourse observers say is devoid of substance.
â€śHorst SchlĂ¤mmer is the right man with the right message at the right time,â€ť says Bernd GĂ¤bler, a media specialist for the magazine Stern. â€śItâ€™s a liberating laughter at a time when people feel politicians donâ€™t answer major questions, heâ€™s a parody of a campaign that leaves behind a huge vacuum.â€ť