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Germany

Far-Right NPD Loses Appeal, Faces Hefty Fine

Germany's far-right National Democratic Party lost its appeal to reverse an 870,000 euro ($1.3 million) fine for the abuse of government subsidies.

Peter Marx speaking at an outoor rally

NPD General Secretary Peter Marx accused the government of trying to bankrupt the party

The ruling on Tuesday, May 20, had judges from the Berlin administrative tribunal upholding a penalty for filing false accounts from 1997 to 1999 by inserting income from fictitious donations.

This meant most of the government subsidies, an amount granted to all German political parties in proportion to their votes and fundraising, were made void for those years.

The NPD, which has seats in two of the 16 German states but no representation at federal level, was accused of cheating on the formula by booking campaign work by its members in Thuringia state, such as leafleting and photocopying, as equivalent to cash donations. The tribunal condemned this, saying the members of other parties did such work without any reward.

Several of the other German political parties have been calling for the NPD to be shut down, charging that it is neo-Nazi; anti-democratic parties are barred from legal existence under the German constitution. The NPD refutes this allegation.

Audits to continue

The NPD general secretary, Peter Marx, accused the government of trying to bankrupt the party through audits.

All of Germany's political parties have only modest fund-raising capacities and instead receive large sums from government funds to pay staff and fund campaigning. They argue that neutral subsidies prevent them becoming beholden to rich donors.

Parliamentary counsel Christian Kirchberg said further audits of the NPD's regional chapters would follow.

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