Candidate strips naked to show he's got nothing to hide

Mr Rivera's message is serious, and constitutes a backlash against the current strident nationalism

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The Independent Online

A young swimming champion has injected some fun into Catalonia's election campaign that starts tomorrow by stripping naked as candidate for a new anti-nationalist party.

Albert Rivera, 26, a lawyer with no political experience, follows in the footsteps of the Italian former porn star La Cicciolina, who bared a breast in a provocative campaign to become an MEP. In pursuit of Catalan votes on 1 November, Mr Rivera appears naked on posters for his Citizens of Catalonia party. "We don't care what language you speak, or what clothes you wear. We only care about you," claims the slogan alongside a photo of the candidate, his hands crossed across his genitals.

The propaganda coup, illustrating the virtues of "transparency and simplicity", has hit Catalonia's buttoned-up political scene with all the elan of a streaker invading the Camp Nou stadium. Mr Rivera wants to bridge "a yawning gulf between politicians and ordinary people". His campaign taps into Catalonia's rich vein of performance art and political satire.

But Mr Rivera's message is serious, and constitutes a backlash against the current strident nationalism. "We need a modern Catalonia where nationalism is not the only thing on the agenda. Public money sunk into Catalan-only projects should go on programmes of social equality," he says.

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