BERLIN Never mind the euro crisis or the war in Syria - what seems to have generated most comment among Germans who tuned in to a live TV debate between Angela Merkel and her election rival Peer Steinbrueck is the German chancellor's necklace.
The twisty necklace, made of long metal beads in the red, yellow and black colors of the German flag, now has its own Twitter account - with the handle @schlandkette - and that has attracted more than 6,300 followers since Sunday evening's duel.
"And the winner is: the Germany necklace," was one tongue-in-cheek Twitter verdict on Monday morning. Another tweet read: "Takeaway from the TV duel: the necklace received more attention than Steinbrueck and Merkel's answers. Sad..."
During their television debate, the only one of the election campaign, Merkel and Steinbrueck clashed over the euro, tax policy, U.S. spying and other issues, but delivered few surprises. An estimated 15 million Germans watched the duel.
Mischievously, the necklace chimed in with its "own" views during the 90-minute debate, tweeting: "Do you really want her hanging around your neck for another four years? Believe me, as a necklace, I know what I'm talking about."
This wasn't the necklace's first public outing. Merkel wore it on the day she won a second term as chancellor in 2009. But its public career might be over now, damaged by too much buzz.
"Now she will probably never wear me again," the necklace sadly signed off.
Merkel is expected to win a third four-year term as chancellor in the September 22 election, but her conservatives may end up having to establish a "grand coalition" with Steinbrueck's Social Democrats.
(Reporting by Sophie Duvernoy, editing by Gareth Jones/Mark Heinrich)