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Germany

Fischer a Lean, Mean Campaigning Machine

After a German newspaper announced that the foreign minister was "too fat for the campaign," Joshka Fischer has decided to whip himself into shape. Again.

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Joschka Fischer through thick and thin

It's a never-ending story with Joshka. In the same way he went from high-school drop-out and rebellious street-fighter to Green party bigwig and respected foreign minister, the man has radically changed his shape over the years, yo-yo-ing up and down the scales at a rate that would make even Oprah Winfrey dizzy.

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Joschka Fischer in his thinner days

In his first startling transformation back in 1997, Joschka became a dedicated runner, whittling off a whopping 37 kg (82 lbs), and writing a book, "My Long Run to Myself," which immediately became a bestseller.

But over the last two years, he has regained at least 20kg of his old baggage. With likely early elections just around the corner though, enough is enough -- Fischer has decided to go from flab to fab.

Pumping iron for the party?

Some newspapers are reporting that, this time around, his diet is more or less a party directive. Apparently, it's easier to win female voters' hearts with a washboard stomach.

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If those reports are true, the Green party is probably overreacting. Fisher is not running for best male model, after all. Not to mention that the former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, whom Fischer once described as a "300-pound piece of meaty German history," did not go on a diet before he reunified East and West Germany in 1990.

On the other hand, look at what happened to Angela Merkel of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Two years ago, she had a Berlin celebrity stylist run his magic fingers through her infamously dull hair. Today, Merkel is running for chancellor. Ugly ducklings are definitely out.

Having vowed to return to his "fighting weight" in time for the polls, Fischer is on a roll. He's lost 10 kg since May and is planning to continue with a punishing exercising regimen and diet of steamed fish and fruit.

The fashion police observing the upcoming German elections will have a tough call to make. Who wins the prize for the makeover of the decade?

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