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Far-right party loses challenge

December 16, 2014

Germany's far-right National Democratic Party has lost a case it brought against Families Minister Manuela Schwesig over disparaging comments. This follows their defeat in a similar case against the president.

Karlsruhe Demonstrationszug Neonazi-Demo NPD
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The NPD had complained over comments made by Schwesig during the recent parliamentary election campaign for the state of Thuringia. In a newspaper interview, Schwesig had made the comment: "The number one goal is that the NPD does not make it into the parliament."

The NPD accused the minister of breaching her duty of neutrality and interfering with the campaign, and made a complaint before the Federal Constitutional Court.

But the court ruled on Monday that Schwesig did not damage the NPD's right to a level playing field, because her comments fell under the "political struggle of opinion."

It's the second time the NPD has lost a case over public comments.

In June, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in favor of German President Joachim Gauck over comments he made before federal parliamentary elections in 2013.

In reference to a series of right-wing protests, Gauck said to a group of schoolchildren that someone has to show these "lunatics" (German: "Spinner") their limits. The far-right protests had been directed against a residence for asylum seekers in Berlin, and the NPD supported the demonstrations.

The court ruled that at times, the head of state had to make value judgments on political parties, and did not necessarily have to remain neutral.

jr/rg (dpa, AFP)