A female member of Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union has raised eyebrows with a campaign poster displaying the chancellor's ample cleavage alongside her own. The poster's slogan reads: "We have more to offer."
The poster features a photo of Vera Lengsfeld, 57, in a low-cut dress alongside a famous photo of Merkel displaying cleavage during a visit to the opera in Oslo in April 2008.
The poster shows Christian Democratic candidate Vera Lengsfeld (right) alongside a 2008 photo of Angela Merkel above the slogan: "We have more to offer."Foto: REUTERS
The head office of the Christian Democrats doesn't seem particularly amused. A spokesman said: "That wasn't agreed with us."
Lengsfeld, a former East German civil rights activist who was locked up by the Stasi secret police, told the mass circulation daily Bild: "I'm sure Ms Merkel is smiling about it. She's got a sense of humor, after all."
Lengsfeld, who is running for a seat in the German Bundestag, said she needed to come up with an eye-catching poster for the Sept. 27 federal election because she is campaigning in the deeply left-wing Berlin constituency of Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, where the CDU got just 12.4 percent of the vote in the last election four years ago.
She said the poster had attracted 17,000 visitors to her election campaign Web site in a single day. Many of the critical comments posted on her blog came from men accusing her of sexism. One poster, who identified himself as Daniel Baltar, wrote: "Have you gone completely mad? You have declared yourself insane with such posters -- and politically disqualified yourself."
But several female commentators on the blog said she had shown courage and a certain degree of irony.
Several regional CDU districts are now considering following suit by using Merkel's cleavage in their own posters. There are no plans so far to feature the revealing photograph on the party's big campaign billboards, though.
The poster, together with a controversial placard by the opposition Greens party featuring the naked buttocks of a black woman, may mark an attempt to breathe life into what has been a tepid election campaign so far. German comedians last week made their own contribution to stoking interest in the campaign by launching satirical party programs.