Germany’s highest court rejected on Tuesday an attempt to ban the National Democratic Party, the country’s oldest far-right political organization, finding that it did not pose a danger to democracy even though its principles violate the Constitution.
The ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court came after years of deliberation and at a time of soul-searching in the country, where another right-wing party, Alternative for Germany, is poised for the first time to win representation in Parliament in national elections this year.
Although the National Democratic Party “pursues aims contrary to the Constitution,” there was a lack of “concrete supporting evidence” that the neo-Nazi party would be able to successfully achieve its goals and to pose a genuine threat, said Andreas Vosskuhle, the president of the court.
“That a party has aims that run contrary to the Constitution is not sufficient grounds for banning a party,” he said.
Germany’s 16 states submitted a petition in 2013 to ban the party, citing its racist, anti-Semitic agenda, but the law that allows a party to be banned is not based on “sympathies or worldview,” but on evidence of a specific threat to the Constitution, he said.
Germany has strict laws on banning political parties, and only two have been outlawed since the defeat of the Nazis after World War II — the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party, in 1952, and the German Communist Party, in 1956.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Melissa Eddy