The legal action taken against the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), put forward by the interior ministers of Germany's federal states, has claimed that the group has a likeness to the ideology of the Nazi party.
However, the legal process has hit a snag, with the German Constitutional Court demanding that more evidence be submitted to show that the party doesn't have any national intelligence agents who are active on undercover operations within the party.
The German Constitutional Court won't ban the right #NPD party at this point. Requests more information on informers at leadership level.— Lars Pellinat (@Lars9596) March 23, 2015
Fears of a Repeat of 2003
This comes after an attempt in 2003 to ban the NPD was thrown out, when it was revealed that a significant number of the party's top officials were in fact secret German intelligence agents, who were paid by the government to work undercover.
The court ruled in favour of allowing the party to continue operating, saying that there was a significant presence from the undercover intelligence agents, and that their influence on the NPD may have been mixed up with the group's ideology.
There are fears that the latest legal effort could end with the same result, despite claims by state interior ministers who said that all informants were removed from the party before evidence for the new investigation was taken.
Criticism of the Ruling
Interior expert Stefan Mayer is among those who have criticised the Constitutional Court's most recent findings, telling online publication Passauer Neue Presse that "the federal states can in no way be accused of not having provided a sufficient amount of proof".
German Green Party head Kathrin Göring-Eckardt also raised concerns about the ruling, labelling it an "alarm signal" that could derail the legal effort to ban the NPD. She was quoted as saying in Die Welt:
"Memories will be stirred…this [ruling] confirms our scepticism about the whole process."
The legal push is hoping to prove that the NPD's alleged likeness to Nazi ideals is in breach of a section of the German constitution, which declares that political parties that "tarnish the free and democratic nature of the republic" are in violation of the constitution.