German politics: For curvy cannons and extra sleep

The chairman and the faux fanatics

“SATIRE cannot have any consequences,” argued Martin Sonneborn in his masters thesis in 1994. Almost by accident, he has proved himself wrong. Die Partei (“The Party”), the elaborate joke of a party he heads, won 0.62% of the German vote in the elections for the European Parliament in May. That was enough for Mr Sonneborn to win a seat (actually, two seats: the legislature meets in Brussels and Strasbourg).The Party mimics the grandiosity of the Nazi and East German communist parties. Its much longer official name mentions animal rights and the “promotion of elites”. Mr Sonneborn is its GröVaZ (an acronym for “greatest chairman of all time”). The Party, he proclaims, is “always right”.Its platform has evolved since its founding in 2004. Early on it advocated a war of aggression against Liechtenstein and the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall. Lately it has become less bellicose. It wants to get rid of daylight-saving time while continuing to set the clocks back every autumn, giving Germans an extra hour of sleep. As a member of the European Parliament Mr Sonneborn plans to revive the EU’s infamous…

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