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Danish John Erik Wagner bares all in bid to be PM

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:13 am
by perkana
Conversations tail off mid-sentence; students stop to take selfies and parents shield young children’s eyes. The cause of their embarrassment: giant posters of a man wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, a gun holster and a knowing smile. This is John Erik Wagner, and he wants to be Denmark’s next prime minister.

It may not be a conventional political billboard but, in this time of frenetic campaigning before the Danish general election this month, every available tree or lamppost is plastered with images of politicians and wannabes, and a relatively unknown candidate needs to work hard to make an impression.

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For Wagner, a 51-year-old Copenhagener, the way to do that was to bare all.

“I’ve been trying to get elected for 10 years now, and this is my third election, so I thought I’d try something different,” he says. “Other candidates’ posters are boring – just like passport photos – so I wanted mine to surprise people.”

He adds: “It helps to look good if you want to be in government and people say I have a nice body, so I thought, ‘This is me, here I am.’ I wanted to get my name out there.”
But what does Wagner stand for, other than Stetsons and unabashed nudity? Key policies include making trips to the dentist free (Danes currently pay around 300 DKK – about £30 per visit) and scrapping unemployment benefit by introducing a basic income and making everyone work six months on and six months off. “I know what it is like to be out of work,” he says, “I’m a clothes designer by trade but I don’t have any work right now. So I want a job. I want to go into government to get work. And help other people who don’t have work.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about Wagner’s policies can visit his Facebook page (“I don’t have time for a website”) to read his manifesto and catch a glimpse of the man behind the oiled torso. Recent posts include Grace Jones’s Slave to the Rhythm video; pictures of Wagner, clad in double denim, petting a horse, as well as selfies with his Chinese crested powderpuff, Dolly. “She’s my dog, named after Dolly Parton,” he says.

“I really like country music and westerns – I’m inspired by the Burt Reynolds/Clint Eastwood cowboy look, like in my poster. It’s my style. And I have many women – and some men – getting in touch saying they like it, and me!”

Wagner is confident about his chances in the election. “I think it’s going to be a more successful year for me,” he says. But if he doesn’t get elected this year, he’s got a plan B: “I’ll do one more run, but that will be my last. I’ve worked as a municipal garbage man before. So if it doesn’t work out, I might consider going back to that.”

P.S. Dolly is a cutie...