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    Supporters and members of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) (File)

    German Court Refuses to Ban Far-Right NDP In Spite of Links to Nazism

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    The verdict of Germany's Constitutional Court is a "slap in the face" for the far-right National Democratic Party, despite the fact that the party avoided getting banned, German Bundestag deputy Niema Movassat told Sputnik Deutschland.

    The far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP) is anti-constitutional and has links to National Socialism, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled on Tuesday, but the party should not be banned because it is too insignificant to represent a threat to the German constitution.

    Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, first tried to outlaw the party in 2001, accusing it of neo-Nazism and anti-Jewish sentiment. The court rejected a ban in 2003 following two years of judicial enquiry, but lawmakers filed a new petition in 2013.

    Supreme Court judge Andreas Vosskuhle ruled that the NDP aims to "replace the existing constitutional order with an authoritarian national state in accordance with an ethnically defined 'national community.'"

    "The NPD has a relationship with National Socialism. The concept of 'national community,' the anti-Semitic basis and the contempt for the existing democratic order show clear parallels with National Socialism," Vosskuhle said in his verdict.

    However, he noted that with less than 6,000 members, the NPD has "limited campaigning capacity and little impact on society," and asserted that the party therefore doesn't represent a threat.

    "There is (currently) a lack of real, concrete evidence to show that it is possible for this [the NDP's] behavior to lead to success," Vosskuhle said.

    People light their torches during a rally against a refugee camp with immigrants and asylum-seekers initiated by NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) in Schneeberg, eastern Germany, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013
    © AP Photo / Jens Meyer
    People light their torches during a rally against a refugee camp with immigrants and asylum-seekers initiated by NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) in Schneeberg, eastern Germany, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013
    Niema Movassat, a deputy in Germany's federal Bundestag for the left-wing party Die Linke, told Sputnik Deutschland that while he would have welcomed a ban, the court ruling has given an important definition of the NDP.

    "I find it regrettable that the NPD has not been banned. This party is a sounding ground for neo-Nazis, it has a lot of relevance. Since it was founded in 1964, it has terrorized democrats, trade unionists, leftists and migrants in Germany. In this respect, I wanted a ban," Movassat said.

    "At the same time, I am glad that the Federal Constitutional Court has clarified that the NPD is an anti-constitutional party and that it is related to National Socialism. This is an important clarification. And in a way, it is, of course, this is a slap in the face for the NPD, when the Federal Constitutional Court says 'you are meaningless.' This certainly offends the neo-Nazis, but I believe, as I said, that a ban would have been a clearer signal."

    "I think the NDP is finished," he said, adding that the general struggle against neo-Nazism is of greater importance than an individual ban on the NDP. This includes protesting against Nazi marches and challenging the ideology of neo-Nazism.

    "It must be said that government agencies are often an obstacle, because they prevent or impede protester against the (far) right because they criminalize (them). I think there should be a discussion about this," Movassat said.

    In elections in September 2016, the NDP lost its last remaining state parliament seat, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommeln. The result left the party with political representation at the municipal level, and one Member of the European Parliament, Udo Voigt.

    In the most recent state elections in Germany's 16 states, the NDP gained more than one percent of the vote in elections in seven of them, and gained more than three percent in three of them: Saxony (4.95 percent in 2014), Thuringia (3.6 percent in 2014) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommeln (3 percent in September 2016). According to German law, a party must cross the 5 percent threshold before it can enter parliament.

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    Tags:
    neo-nazism, nazism, ban, political party, German Constitutional Court, National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP), Germany
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