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Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK

World: Europe

EU candidate: I'll pose nude for Playboy

Miss Van der Meersch is disenchanted with traditional campaigning

A former Miss Belgium, Anke Van der Meersch, has made the unusual campaign promise to pose naked for Playboy if elected to the European Parliament on 13 June.

"I'll undress only if I win enough preferential votes to be elected," she said.

Miss Van der Meersch: "Very good response so far"
The Antwerp lawyer said she was forced to take such desperate measures as a way of drawing people's attention to her political manifesto.

"This is only a kind of teaser to get the attention of the people - to show that inside the package there's also content.

"That means real political points, which are mainly the same as the Liberal Party in Belgium, with my own personal touches," she told the BBC.

She said the current campaigning system - with its emphasis on television personalities and slogans - makes it difficult for older people to enter politics and "get their face known".

Voters lap up Playboy promise

The Antwerp lawyer says voters have reacted well to her promise to bare all, and her chances of being elected are good.

However, she is currently 13th of the Liberal Party's list of candidates, and party leaders seem unimpressed with her campaign tactics.

"What? Democracy and elections are serious business. A stunt like that is uncalled for," Antwerp's VLD leader Ward Beysen told the De Nieuwe Gazet daily.

Miss Van der Meersch would need some 200,000 votes to win a seat in the 626-European legislature.

The Belgian elections have been marked by a sharp increase in famous figures from the world of sports, music and the media running for office.

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