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Monday, 2 December 2013

German states unveiling new bid to ban right-wing extremist party

Berlin (dpa) - Germany‘s 16 states were set to unveil on Monday the country‘s second attempt to ban the extreme-right National Democratic Party (NPD), claiming it has adopted the same aggressive anti-foreigner stance as Adolf Hitler‘s Nazi Party.

The NPD‘s political programme and ideology are "essentially identical to the teachings of Germany‘s national socialist movement," the states argue in their submission to the country‘s Constitutional Court.

The NPD was founded in 1964, and currently has about 6,000 members. A similar bid to ban it was rejected by the Constitutional Court in 2003 because of the number of government informants in the top echelons of the NPD.

In the latest submission to the court, the states claim the NPD follows the same "racial biological" ideology put forward by the Nazis during Hitler‘s Third Reich. The submission claims that the NPD aims to undermine the democratic principles underpinning the modern German state.

Banning the NPD would put an end to public funds flowing into its coffers each year in accordance with Germany‘s party financing laws. The right-wing extremist party received approximately 1.4 million euros (1.9 million dollars) in taxpayers‘ money in 2012.

The NPD would also have to give up the parliamentary seats it currently holds in the eastern states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The party won just 1.3 per cent of the vote in Germany‘s general election on September 22 - well below the 5 per cent hurdle required to take seats in the German parliament.

The effort to ban it is being led by the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament which represents the states, and is expected to be submitted to the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.

Neither the country‘s government nor its lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, have joined the latest move to outlaw the NPD, with several politicians voicing doubts over the chances of success

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