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Germany

Second NPD State Parliamentarian Quits Far-Right Party

A second far-right NPD faction member in the Saxony state parliament has resigned from his party with the assistance of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

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The NPD's representation in the Saxony state parliament has fallen from 12 to ten

A second NPD parliamentarian in the state of Saxony has quit the far-right party, it was announced Wednesday.

Just days after Mirko Schmidt, one of 12 state parliamentarians the NPD could boast in the state parliament in Saxony before the weekend, had left the party it was revealed in the German press that fellow faction member Klaus Baier had also departed.

The NPD's state parliament representation now stands at ten.

Baier, who had been a member of the party since 1998, cited his disappointment with the party as his reason for leaving.

Schmidt, who was extracted from the NPD with the assistance of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, cited the NPD's abandonment of democratic principles as his reason for quitting the party.

The president of the government agency, Rainer Stock, told reporters that Schmidt had approached the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and had asked about possible protective measures as he considered leaving the extremist party.

Stock added that he hoped that Schmidt's decision would send a positive signal to any NPD members considering the same move and that any wanting to leave the party would get the same level of support.

This pledge was reiterated by Saxony's Minister of the Interior Albrecht Buttolo.

"The state will no let those people who turn away from right-wing extremism be alone," he said.

Age n cy's drop-out program offered support

Versammlungsrecht Demonstration von Neo-Nazis

The drop-out program helps people turn their back on far-right extremism

Since the Office for the Protection of the Constitution's drop-out program started in April 2001, 31 people have been assisted in leaving the far-right scene. Most have used the program's hotline number to contact the government agency and from there some have been successfully extracted from fascist circles.

The program offers advice, help in dealing with local authority regulations and, in extreme cases, relocation for personal safety.

Schmidt, a former independent member of parliament, who joined the NPD last year and was elected from the NPD list in Saxony's state election, revealed that he had joined the program and denounced the NPD at the weekend following his resignation.

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