A zoo giraffe has entered the race for a top job in politics after being put in for the leadership role in one of Europe’s most divided parties.
The giraffe – under the name of Camelo Pardalis – is vying to become chairman of Austria’s Social Democratic Party, or SPOe.
The centre-left group – the country’s oldest surviving party – has been riven with conflict after months of wrangling over the leadership.
Now local newspaper editor Michael Pommer has submitted an application in the giraffe’s name.
The giraffe’s entry was – reports local media – greeted warmly by the party with a confirmation email from the Vienna party secretary Barbara Novak.
Now the Schonbrunn Zoo resident will join the list with 72 other potential applicants for the job.
Pommer – editor in chief of Austria’s largest newspaper Kronen Zeitung – had reportedly created a prank application for membership online and then entered the giraffe for the leadership.
SPOe Federal Managing Director Christian Deutsch confirmed the party had received the application.
He said: ” We will also send the questionnaire to this e-mail address.
“This is a party member who registered with an e-mail address and a telephone number.”
Deutsch added: “Right from the start, it could not be ruled out that one or the other applicant would allow himself a special joke.
“This is exactly why it is so important that this form is submitted and that we collect information.
“At the beginning of next week, we will check exactly how many of the 73 Applicants will ultimately be admitted to the elections.”
One hurdle that could trip up the unconventional candidate straight away is that their application used a fake name.
Camelo Pardalis is a pun on Camelopardalis, a large constellation of stars representing a giraffe. And ‘giraffa camelopardalis’ is a subspecies of giraffe found in Africa.
The current chair, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, 51 – the first woman to lead the SPOe – is facing a leadership election between 24th April and 10th May.
It will reportedly be the first election of its kind in the party, triggered when socialist Hans-Peter Doskozil, 52, put in his application to replace Rendi-Wagner.
The months of infighting led to the social democrats falling behind the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) in the polls.
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