Germany’s Top Court Mulls Banning Extremist NPD

Germany’s Top Court Mulls Banning Extremist NPDGermany’s Top Court Mulls Banning Extremist NPD

Germany’s upper house is arguing before the court that the fringe party’s manifesto is “essentially identical” to Adolf Hitler’s platform. Germany has not closed down a political party in more than half a century.

The country’s Federal Constitutional Court on Tuesday will begin hearing arguments to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), the second attempt to ban the party.

The case hinges on the question of whether the neo-Nazi NPD poses a threat to Germany’s Constitution and democratic order, DPA reported.

The Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament that represents Germany’s 16 states, brought the case forward in 2013, tying the party to a platform of violence, racism and fear that resembles outlawed Nazism.

The states’ case will try to support these allegations and show vigilante justice and violence are an integral part of the NPD’s self-image.

The states will also try to link the NPD to the National Socialist Underground, which carried out 10 murders, mostly against ethnic Turks, between 2000 and 2006.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government supports the case although it is not formally a part of the file against the party. Opponents of the ban argue the NPD is only a small party of rightwing politics in Germany and its closure would do little but turn party members into martyrs.

The NPD has never crossed the national 5% threshold to enter parliament, winning just 1.3% of the vote in 2013.

However, it has seats in the state parliament in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and therefore receives state financial support, a sore point for those opposed to state funds being provided to a neo-Nazi party.

The party is also represented in several city councils in former East Germany and has one seat in the European Parliament.

The Bundestag, Bundesrat and federal government first sought to ban the NPD in 2001, but the Federal Constitutional Court closed proceedings after it was revealed Germany’s domestic intelligence agency had infiltrated the NPD all the way up to the executive level.

The hearing is scheduled for three days this week.