Merkel successor slammed over intersex toilet joke

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's anointed successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, faced harsh criticism Monday over a carnival joke that ridiculed intersex people.

Merkel successor slammed over intersex toilet joke
AKK at an annual 'fool's court' at Carnival in Das Narrengericht in Stockach. Image: DPA

The CDU party chief and likely future conservative candidate for the chancellery, usually dubbed just AKK because of her tongue-twister name, made the joke in a carnival speech last week.

SEE ALSO: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: The woman behind the 'mini-Merkel' headlines

Attempting to poke fun at politically progressive Berlin, she said newly introduced toilets for intersex people were “for those men who don't know whether to pee standing up or sitting down”.

The comment was greeted with jeers, fanfare and booming laughter in the Lake Constance town of Stockach in southern Germany, but fewer people were laughing when it was shared on the website and Twitter.

“Another one of those days that make you cringe… is it really that  difficult to make a humorous speech without flat jokes beating up on minorities?” commented lawmaker Jens Brandenburg of the FDP party.

Similar criticism rained down from MPs across party lines on 56-year-old AKK, the former premier of the tiny state of Saarland.

The Social Democrats' general secretary Lars Klingbeil charged that the comment showed “an absolute lack of respect” for intersex people, whose legal  status was only formally recognised in Germany last year.

The newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger in Cologne, a city at the heart of Germany's carnival tradition, slammed AKK's joke as “low-brow”, “sordid”, “populist” and tapping into society's “culture wars”.

AKK, a devout Catholic who has spoken out against same-sex marriage, was named “Miss Homophobia 2018” in an online poll conducted by gay and lesbian rights group Enough is Enough.

SEE ALSO: Third gender option for birth certificates approved in Bundestag

Member comments

  1. This lady is just as insulting and has a total lack of respect to Germany as Donald Trump is to the USA.

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Germany’s centre-right CDU to elect new leadership by end of the year

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party will elect its new leadership by the year's end, general secretary Paul Ziemiak said Monday, detailing plans for a clean slate after a disastrous election that the party lost to the Social Democrats.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU leader Armin Laschet on the election campaign trail in Aachen before the election. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

In power for 16 years under Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union is grappling with its deepest crisis in decades after turning in a historic low score in September’s election.

Its leader Armin Laschet last week signalled his readiness to step aside, setting the ball rolling for renewal at the top.

READ ALSO: Laschet signals he’s ready to step down as CDU leader

Ziemiak said a date for the congress to determine the new makeup of the party’s top brass as well as how rank and file members can participate in the leadership selection process will be announced on November 2nd.

But the party’s leaders “today agreed unanimously that we will elect a completely new executive board,” he said, adding that in terms of the calendar, the “window for this is year’s end”.

Bild daily had reported that the party has made a tentative booking for December 6th-13th in Dresden for its possible congress.

READ ALSO: Germany edges a step closer to a government led by Social Democrats

Laschet, who is state premier of Germany’s most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected head of the CDU in January.

For some time, he was the clear favourite to succeed Merkel, who is bowing out of politics after running four consecutive coalitions.

But his party’s ratings began to slide as he committed a series of gaffes, including being caught on camera laughing in the background during a solemn tribute to flood victims.

With the CDU’s ratings plunging, Merkel tried to boost Laschet’s campaign with joint appearances, but was unable to help the conservatives pull off a win on election day.