Top German Court Refuses to Outlaw Far-right NPD Party
Jan 18 2017 by Desiree Burns
Germany's top court Tuesday rejected a bid to ban the extreme-right National Democratic Party, arguing that while the party resembles Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, it poses no serious threat to German democracy.
With the failure, The Federal Constitutional Court put an end to the attempts of dissolving the neo-fascist party.
Since then, however, the NPD has lost its remaining state parliament seats and seen many of its supporters drift away to the populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) which has morphed from a bailout-critical movement to an anti-immigrant party, with seats in half of Germany's 16 state parliaments and up to 15 per cent in federal opinion polls.
The NPD has suspected neo-Nazi connections, but attempts to ban the party outright have failed on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, the judge made reference to other possibilities to face the neo-fascist party, including the banning of public financing.
The German court said that while the NPD's views violate the Constitution, the group does not have the means to reach its goals of establishing an ethnically defined authoritarian government system. 'There is no current specific and stunning evidence indicating (NDP's) political success, ' Andreas VoÃÅ¸kuhle, president of the court, said.
After years of the Nazi party crushing dissent, Germany adopted post-World War II policies that make it hard to ban a political party outright.
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According to the high court, the NPD shows clear parallels to National Socialism: its members celebrate Nazi Party leaders from the 1940s; use vocabulary, literature, music and symbols associated with Nazism; and promote revisionist history that sympathizes with "the mindset of National Socialism".
"No ban alone would get rid of xenophobia and racism", he said in a statement.
Only two parties have been outlawed in West Germany and reunited Germany - the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party in 1952 and the German Communist Party in 1956.
Heiko Maas, the country's justice minister, said the government respected the verdict, but warned against complacency.
Welcoming Tuesday's ruling, the NPD said it would now rebuild.
"Now we must concertedly fight right-wing extremism.in people's heads".