Rose Monday Parade German Carnival To Feature Nearly-Nude Merkel

The Rose Monday carnival procession on Feb. 23 will include a float showing Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Marilyn Monroesque, nearly-nude pose. The city's festival committee, aware of the possible reaction, may yet give her a bikini top, though.

Germans watching the big Rose Monday carnival procession in Cologne on Feb. 23 will be treated to the sight of a very nearly nude Angela Merkel in the form of a revealing papier mache figure of Germany's first woman leader.

The carnival processions in Cologne, Mainz and especially in Düsseldorf are known for their irreverent floats that poke fun at politicians.

But Cologne's festival committee seems keenly aware this time that its figure of the German chancellor in the buff, in a Marylin Monroesque pose against the backdrop of the German national flag, may prove controversial.

That may explain why it still seems undecided on whether to give Merkel a bikini or not when it rolls her out for the procession that will be televised nationwide and watched by well over 1 million people lining the streets.

When the float was presented to the press on Tuesday, two tiny German eagles were all that covered the figure's ample bosom. Local daily Express reported on its Web site that the committee had decided not to give her a bikini. "We just keep getting cheekier!" it quoted the committee's chairman Markus Ritterbach as saying.

However, the head of Rose Monday procession, Christoph Kuckelkorn, told SPIEGEL ONLINE later on Tuesday: "She will be wearing a bikini. This isn't Düsseldorf! The float looks great and we've had a great response to our procession floats."

The Rhine cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf are bitter rivals when it comes to celebrating carnival, and Düsseldorf has a reputation for being more bitingly satirical in the design of its floats.

The Cologne float shows Merkel before and after she has had her "problem zones" lifted, such as the plunging economy and government debt, to name a few.

Whether Merkel will approve remains to be seen. But it seems certain that her cleavage will be generating more media coverage over the next week than at any time since she appeared in a low-cut dress at an opera in Oslo last year.



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