New Twist in Austria's General Election Campaign with Bare Chests

Austria's general elections campaign has witnessed two high-profile contenders having taken their shirts off. Taking shirts off is the latest twist in the rivalry between populist candidate Frank Stronach and Heinz-Christian Strache.

Both the rivals are seeking protest vote in Austria's Sept. 29 election. It seemed that Stronach wanted to end the staid culture of mainstream electioneering in the continent, as he was the first to take out his shirt.

He was only wearing a jeans and a smile. A trim 80-year-old upper body was visible, when he stood next to his private lake during weekend interviews with Austrian dailies.

The Austro-Canadian billionaire explained that he does not think he needs to be ashamed of his body.

Strache immediately responded as a photo appeared on Sunday on his Facebook page that showed the tanned and athletic 42-year-old clad in swimming trunks. The photo appeared with the caption "top fit in the election campaign!"

Tabloid Oesterreich said that Strache's decision to challenge Stronach's gambit poses the risk of turning the campaign into a circus.

Starche is the head of the anti-immigrant and EU-skeptic Freedom Party. Andreas Schieder, who is a leading Socialist official, said that both the men need to shift their focus on naked facts of politics instead of naked upper bodies.