• Germany's news in English

Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife

Jörg Luyken · 28 Jul 2015, 17:12

Published: 28 Jul 2015 17:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

What happens when an argument about greed and self-interest breaks out in a joke party set up to mock those very traits in established political parties?

A media story of absurd and surreal proportions breaks out in which the line between satire and reality becomes ever harder to distinguish.

Milking Brussels

Party leader Martin Sonneborn told voters he wanted to go to Brussels to live the good life, and after his election in June 2014 he seems to have stayed true to his word.

In October he told The Local it was only a matter of time before he started using his tax payer-funded limo to do his shopping.

But party colleagues are looking enviously and angrily at that enticing piece of Belgian gateaux.

Leo Fischer, a member of Die Partei's federal executive board, has announced he intends to stand against Sonneborn at the party convention in October.

Speaking to TAZ on Tuesday, he described his qualifications as "the same as [those of] the current leader: Seven years' experience at Titanic [a satirical magazine] and an unlimited thirst for power".

Fischer has set up a group within the party called Chance 5,000, offering party members who support his candidacy "up to €5,000" in immediate cash in return.

This might all sound like the party trying to win a few headlines for itself in the summer 'silly season'. But it seems there is serious discontent among the rank and file, which has grown to over 17,000 members in party factions across the country.

The dispute centres on an agreement Sonneborn had with the party's executive body to rotate representation in Brussels every four weeks. The party leader has backed down from this commitment citing legal reasons. Fischer also accuses him of offering plum party positions to his Berlin friends and of hoarding money that should be distributed across the country.

To make the conflict all the more surreal, it mirrors the recent split in the Alternative for Germany party (AfD), the type of populist group Die Partei is supposed to mock, which led to leader Bern Lucke losing power earlier in July.

Speaking to the Frankfurter Rundschau, Fischer noted that "inner party disputes are all the rage in small parties at the moment".

'Night of the Long Knives'

Story continues below…

Meanwhile Sonneborn's response has been no less surreal than the crtique against him.

In an interview with Spiegel, he raved that "it's like the Night of the Long Knives," referring to the purge of brown shirt chiefs in the Nazi party in 1934.

As for accusations that he did not listen to the party's rank and file he rebutted "of course I don't. We are a party which revolves around its leader. I have no truck with inner party democracy.“

Fischer he said belonged to a younger generation "whose blood pressure is too high. They try and push themselves forward, with varying success."

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jörg Luyken (joerg.luyken@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd