May 23, 2019 / 12:29 PM / 24 days ago

Vote for the Bogeyman: undertaker uses gallows humour in election bid

FILE PHOTO: Undertaker and candidate for town councillor at the municipality of Sykies, Konstantinos Baboulas, smiles as he poses inside a coffin at his family's funeral parlor in Thessaloniki, Greece, May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

THESSALONIKI, Greece (Reuters) - Printing campaign leaflets that look like funeral announcements and handing out coffin-shaped car fresheners, a Greek undertaker is using gallows humour to win votes in a city council election.

Konstantinos Baboulas has also written a slogan for the May 26 vote that plays on his surname which means “Bogeyman” in Greek, telling voters: “To support Baboulas, means to win life, otherwise ... “

“The way to demystify death is with humour,” said Baboulas, who is seeking a seat on a municipal council in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second biggest city.

“We should all try to face our biggest fear, and humour is the best way to deal with it,” he said.

Despite his light-hearted approach, the 31-year-old father said his campaign was no joke. “All my life I complained about local government and then the moment came where an offer was made to me to quit moaning and do something,” he said.

Baboulas, who runs the funeral business started by his father, said he wants to bring entrepreneurial spirit to a public institution so it will better serve residents.

“We should view our municipality as a non-profit business ... with the best interests of people in mind,” he said.

As for his name, Baboulas said it suited the family trade but success depended on delivering a good service. “Otherwise, it would have become our gravestone,” he said with a grin.

Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Edmund Blair

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