Berlin: A necklace worn by Chancellor Angela Merkel sporting the colours of the German flag has acquired a dedicated Twitter account delivering satirical jibes following its much-commented upon appearance at a TV debate.
For many years Germans were uncomfortable flying their flag publicly because of its nationalistic associations and echoes of the country's Nazi past.
But Merkel's proud gesture did not go unnoticed by the 17 million viewers who tuned in to watch her only public debate with Social Democratic challenger Peer Steinbrueck on Sunday, ahead of a general election on September 22.
By Monday, the "Germany necklace" worn by Merkel had its own parody account on Twitter which has so far attracted more than 7,500 followers to @schlandkette.
"Do you really want her hanging around your neck for four more years? Believe me, as her necklace I know what I'm talking about" read one tweet during the debate.
"My resounding success is really just a chain of unfortunate circumstances," read another tongue-in-cheek tweet.
Made of beads in gold, red and black, the necklace is a bespoke piece that the chancellor has owned for 10 years, Ulrike Weyrich, her jeweller, told German news agency DPA.
The conservative chancellor is seeking a third term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy, and appeared calm, composed and presidential on Sunday.
While Merkel has enjoyed a yawning poll lead for months, many observers gave points to her challenger for reinvigorating his campaign after it got off to a slow start and was hobbled by a series of gaffes.
Merkel had already worn the necklace during her second election to the post of chancellor in 2009 by members of the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) and more recently in 2012 during a ceremony for victims of racist crimes committed by neo-Nazis.
Football's World Cup in 2006 is widely seen as the moment Germany's attitude to its flag changed as people of all races and backgrounds waved it during the country's triumphant win, but prior to this the flag was a contentious symbol.
German strength is Merkel's campaign theme, with posters proclaiming "Germany is strong and should stay so".