Germany’s 16 states have decided to launch an attempt to get the extreme-right NPD party banned. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government would get behind the bid.
The formal decision to apply to get Germany's Constitutional Court to ban the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), came at a meeting on Friday of the Bundesrat upper house, which represents the states at the national level. The move came as little surprise, as the state premiers had agreed the move in principle at a meeting held earlier this month.
"We are convinced that the NPD is in violation of the constitution," Christine Lieberknecht, the premier of the eastern state of Thuringia told the Bundesrat session.
Lieberknecht added that the case against the NPD was supported by an extensive collection of evidence, including statement of hundreds of the party's officers. She also noted that this time, no information provided to the security services by NPD informants was included in the evidence. The Constitutional Court struck down a 2003 attempt to ban the party, such informants had been called as key witnesses in the case.
The premier of the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein said the move was about defending Germany's democratic system of government.
“We are defending ourselves with all tools available under the rule of law against a brown horde, which wants to destroy the constitutional state,” Torsten Albig said. The color brown, worn by Adolf Hitler's SA or storm troopers, is commonly used in modern German political parlance to refer to the far-right more generally.
Friday's Bundesrat vote, however, wasn't unanimous, with the representatives of the central state of Hesse abstaining, due to their doubts about the chances of success.
The Bundesrat is one of three bodies that are in a position to apply to the Constitutional Court get a political NPD banned. Many believe the bid would be strongest if the Chancellor Merkel's cabinet and the Bundestag lower house came out in support of the application. The chancellor said earlier in the month that her government wouldn't announce a decision on the matter until early next year.
pfd/msh (Reuters, dapd)