Merkel double seeks own office

A professional Angela Merkel impersonator is looking for her own place in the political spotlight in the northern German city of Lübeck.

Merkel double seeks own office
Susanne Knoll, 49, wants her own office now. Photo: DPA

Susanne Knoll, a 49-year-old mother of three who has appeared in talk shows and a music video as the German chancellor, is running for Lübeck’s city legislature – but not for Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU). Knoll is standing for office for the CDU’s traditional political rivals, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Knoll told German news agency DPA she realized she is no longer satisfied just playing a politician.

“I wanted to be active in politics myself. Although it was clear to me that if I were to join a party it would have to be the SPD,” she told DPA.

She admitted she has encountered some skepticism but said former SPD Secretary General Klaus-Uwe Benneter recruited her himself as a local candidate.

“There have been questions like, ‘What’s her deal? Is this all a performance?’ But I think by now I have convinced most of the skeptics,” Knoll said.

Knoll was hired by a management company as a Merkel double in 2003, two years before the politician became Germany’s first female chancellor. She joined the SPD in 2005, the same year Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) formed a so-called grand coalition with the SPD at the federal level.

When the CDU nominated Merkel as its top candidate and likely choice as chancellor, Knoll appeared widely in talk shows and with German pop singer Udo Lindenberg in a music video for his song “Angie.”

Knoll told DPA that people still tell her she looks like Merkel, though the comments are not as common as they once were.

With place number seven on the SPD’s candidate list and her own legislative district where she could win a direct mandate, Knoll has high hopes to take her own seat in office after the May 25 election. Like many other local candidates, she said her priorities are education, curbing government spending and increasing access to day care.

“I am quite ambitious, and this doesn’t have to end with the city legislature,” she said.


Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday made a push for equal pay for men and women international footballers after Germany's successful run at the recent European Championships.

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

“My position on this is clear,” Scholz said after a meeting with the German Football Association (DFB) to discuss the issue.

“We talked about how we can continue to help more girls and women get excited about football. Of course, the wages at such tournaments play a major role in this,” he said.

“That’s why it makes sense to discuss equal pay. I made the suggestion and I’m very grateful that there is a willingness to discuss this issue.”

Germany scored their biggest major tournament success since 2015 at this year’s European Championships, losing to England in the final at Wembley.

Scholz attended the final and also supported the women’s team by tweeting: “It’s 2022, and women and men should be paid equally. This also applies to sport, especially for national teams.”

READ ALSO: Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP headquarters on Tuesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP (German Football Association) headquarters on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Germany’s women would have received €60,000 each if they had triumphed at the tournament, while the men would have received €400,000 each had they prevailed at the Euros last year.

Bernd Neuendorf, president of the DFB, said he understood the argument “that equal work and success should also have the same value”.

“I’m willing to discuss in our committees whether our payment system is up to date or whether it should be adjusted,” he said.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg suggested that international footballers’ wages could be evened out by paying women more and men less.

Officials must now “follow up with action” after the meeting, she said in an interview with the ZDF broadcaster.

Scholz said he was “very, very proud” of the women’s performance at the Euros, even if “it didn’t quite work out”.

“I hope it will have a long-lasting effect, not only on the players themselves… but also on football in Germany,” he said.