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Author Berg: »Always regrets that I am not fit to be a revolutionary leader«

Photo: Soeren Stache / picture alliance / dpa

The satirical party Die Partei has nominated its European list at a party congress in Mainz. In first place on the list for the elections to the European Parliament is party chairman Martin Sonneborn, who has been a member of parliament in Strasbourg since 2014. The second place on the list went to the writer Sibylle Berg.

In an interview with the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«, the author explained that she had »reached a degree of political and social incomprehension that I would like to become active outside the narrowly defined framework of literature.« Berg said she had "realised that the EU is far too influential to be left to the right without a fight."

She was convinced of Die Partei by the basic idea of "burying seriousness and criticism, enlightenment and philanthropy under a lush layer of humorous peat." In particular, Martin Sonneborn's work in parliament was decisive, Sibylle Berg continued: "I understood more about politics and the work of the EU through his reports, comments and speeches than through reading all the non-fiction books I have read."

Combining fiction and grassroots work

Sibylle Berg was born in Weimar, studied in Hamburg and has lived in Zurich since 1996. In 1997 she published her first novel »A few people are looking for happiness and laughing themselves to death«. In 2019, »GRM. Brainfuck« was awarded the Swiss Book Prize. Her dramatic work has also won many awards. It was "partly neutral and careful like Switzerland, partly permanently agitated like Germany," Berg told the FAZ.

In 2019, Die Partei won 2.4 percent of Germany's votes in the European Parliament, giving it two seats in Strasbourg. If she were to achieve a similar result again in 2024, Sibylle Berg would enter parliament. "Everything that makes me who I am speaks against public appearance, and yet I have always regretted that I am not fit to be a revolutionary leader," said the long-time columnist on SPIEGEL.de . She hopes to connect the worlds of fiction and grassroots political work.

Regarding her political background, Sibylle Berg said that she used to be "a theoretical fan of the theoretical Pirate Party": "As a nerd, I was extremely fond of the idea of a nerd party." In the 2021 Berlin House of Representatives election, she supported the then Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer (Die Linke). In her adopted home of Switzerland, Berg supported a committee "Vaccinated against the Covid certificate". The certificate divides the Swiss population "into good and bad citizens" and could lay the "infrastructure for total surveillance," Berg wrote in the "Aargauer Zeitung" at the end of 2021.

The satirical roots of the party The party in the context of the magazine »Titanic« is shown by the European list positions 8 to 15, all of which bear the surname Wagner. According to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of them introduced himself as follows: "I am Daniel Wagner. And unlike Prigozhin, I've crashed more than once."

Former prominent candidates and supporters of the satirical party included Serdar Somuncu, who ran as a "chancellor candidate" in the 2017 federal election, members of the bands Die Ärzte and K.I.Z. or Shahak Shapira.

Celebration in the TV Garden

This year's national party convention took place in Mainz. A large number of delegates took advantage of this to visit the Lerchenberg, in the "television garden" of ZDF. Equipped with red ties, the party members danced through the ranks in a polonaise, one bathed in the pool of the television garden, reports »Der Westen«, among others.

"Fernsehgarten" presenter Andrea Kiewel reacted during the show: "Today there are viewers here with ties. They belong to an association called Die Partei. They're just here to disturb you all the time, and I think that's very sad and completely wrong." The »Fernsehgarten« is a show for everyone.

The party leader Sonneborn posted Kiewel's reaction on Instagram, not without pride. Speaking to the newspapers of the Ippen publishing group, Sonneborn justified the appearance as follows: "We wanted to celebrate the establishment of our party list for the EU elections. We found an appropriate framework for that." The background was a bet: "What there is more attention for in the German media: When the Azerbaijani dictator Aliyev invades Nagorno-Karabakh or when the party pees in the pool at the TV garden." (Read a report by our correspondent Walter Mayr from the Armenian city of Goris here.)