Germany's National Democratic Party said it planned to draw on the neo-Nazi scene in order to achieve the their ambitious plans of winning parliament seats in national elections in 2006.
Party leadership announced ambitious plans at their conference
The leader of Germany's extreme-right National Democratic Party (NPD) told his party's conference here on Saturday that an electoral alliance with another extremist part would help them gain parliamentary representation in two years' time.
Speaking in front of 160 delegates, NPD party chairman Udo Voigt said the alliance with the German People's Union (DVU) would make the parties, which are both strongly opposed to immigration, "a strong national entity".
He said his party would also be prepared to work with the
Republikaner, another extreme-right party who have so far refused the offer of an alliance.
Time for revolutionary change
The NPD shocked the mainstream political parties by winning 9.2 percent of the votes in a regional elections in the economically-depressed eastern state of Saxony last month, and is aiming to repeat that success on a national level in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
On Saturday night, hardliners from the neo-Nazi scene are expected to be voted into the national party leadership. Observers say the move is an effort by the NPD, which has traditionally rejected links to neo-Nazis, of tapping into the scene to form a "people's front from the right," as Voigt put it.
Addressing the conference in this small eastern town which was heavily guarded by police, Voigt said: "The time has come for a revolutionary change in Germany, and this process started in Saxony."
Ambitious plans greeted with skepticism
Political scientists, however, don't believe the right-wing party can repeat its success on a national level. They say the lack of a cohesive party program and media support would doom the party, as would the lack of finances.
Under the alliance with the DVU, the two parties will enter a joint list of candidates for the national elections and will not
stand against each other.
Only one extremist right-wing party has won seats in the
Bundestag lower house of parliament since World War II and that was immediately after the war.
Protesters fight police
In protest against a neo-Nazi march in Potsdam on Saturday, thousands of left-wing activists clashed with police officers. The activists were there to protest the 350 neo-Nazis who marched with police escort through downtown Potsdam.
Things quickly got out of hand and police had to beat back the anarchists with water cannons. At least four officers were injured and several activists arrested.