Left party leader handed gag order over Nazi comment | News | DW | 08.06.2016
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Left party leader handed gag order over Nazi comment

Thuringia's leader has been taken to task by the state court for calling another political party "Nazis." The court ruled that he violated his official neutrality by promoting a boycott of the far-right NPD.

Bodo Ramelow, leader of Germany's eastern state of Thuringia, has been hit with a gag order by the state's Constitutional Court. The court ruled on Wednesday that Minister President Ramelow had violated his parliamentary neutrality by calling for a boycott of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).

In 2015, the Left party politician said in an interview: "I appeal to all democratic parties and their representatives, that we avoid finding any common ground with NPD proposals," otherwise, the state legislature would effectively "validate the Nazis."

NPD facing nationwide ban

The NPD have long been decried as neo-Nazis for their nationalistic agenda, as well as overtly xenophobic and racist statements. One attempt to ban the party for violating German laws against using Nazi symbolism and inciting racial hatred fell apart after it was revealed that too many federal agents had infiltrated the organization. Germany's highest court is currently in the process of deciding on a renewed call to prohibit the party.

Because links to Ramelow's interview were shared on the state of Thuringia's authorized Twitter and Facebook accounts, the court ruled that the state premier had shared these opinions in his official capacity and not as a private individual.

The court ruled that Ramelow had used his office to reduce equal political competition between parties. It also took issue with a politician using the term "Nazis," about a legally registered political party when speaking as leader of the state.

Ramelow has said he will respect the decision of the court for now, but lamented the restrictions the judgment placed on what media could be shared by state channels.

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