Until a month ago, Paul Kirchhof was a respected but little-known former judge and law professor in Heidelberg with strong views about the inequities of the German tax code. "We have a system that is riddled with privileges," he told Time in an interview last year, arguing that it was time to strike "a liberating blow" for the economy by replacing the country's complex tax regime with a flat tax rate of 25% on income, after the first 38,000, which would be tax free. Corporations would be treated the same way as individuals. When Angela Merkel appointed Kirchhof to her team last month, many in her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party were surprised; his views on tax are far more radical than the modest cuts proposed by the CDU. But if Merkel wins Sunday's elections, the 62-year-old former judge just might become the next German Finance Minister, and his ideas could become the new economic orthodoxy.