Germany's far-right parties agreed at the weekend to join forces for the country's 2006 general election and to fight side by side in the campaign – literally, if necessary.
The National Democratic Party (NPD) and the German People's Union (DVU) signed a cooperation pact on Saturday which would see the two extremist groups become one as the far-right option on the ballot papers for next year's federal election. The groups also ominously pledged to meet any left-wing attacks on them with violence.
Both parties have recently been boosted by regional electoral successes with the NPD winning 9.2 percent in the Saxony state election in September; the far right's best showing for six years.
Cooperation born from successful gains
The signing of the cooperation agreement is the culmination of discussions between the NPD and DVU which began with an announcement of intention in the autumn of 2004 in the first flush of the far-right's successful showing in the state elections.
Both parties hope the alliance, which is due to last until 2009, will help them win seats in Germany's national parliament. No far-right party has achieved such a feat in Germany's post-war history.
"With our combined strength we will muck out this pig-sty," DVU chief Gerhard Frey, told a congress in Munich in southern Germany.
NPD chief promises to shake up opposition
Meanwhile, NPD boss Udo Voigt declared that the combined force of the two parties would shake the mainstream parties to their core and that the far-right's election campaigns would be such that the opposition would be unable to believe their eyes or ears. He gave no further details but offered a belligerent warning to those who wished to oppose them by force.
"We will no longer be the whipping-boys of the left," said Voigt. "Whoever attacks us, should expect to get hurt," he said after listing various attacks on far right supporters.
German prosecutors began investigations last week into six senior members of the right wing faction suspected of injuring leftist demonstrators when they retaliated against some 50 stone-throwers outside a NPD party meeting.