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German neo-Nazi party NPD again facing ban

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BERLIN (JTA) — The National Democratic Party of Germany is facing legal proceedings aimed at the neo-Nazi party’s disbanding.

Germany’s Bundesrat, or legislative council, voted on Friday to apply to the Supreme Court to ban the 7,200-member NPD, which is known for its anti-democratic, anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic stances.

Of the 16 German states, only Hesse abstained in the Bundesrat vote over fears that the ban attempt would fail as a previous effort did in 2003. A second failure would give the party a boost, critics fear.

Despite such widespread concerns, the 16 state ministers of the interior earlier this month unanimously recommended setting a new attempt to ban in motion.

The NPD runs on a platform of blaming foreigners for Germany’s problems and belittling the Holocaust. The party has been elected to two state parliaments in recent years by eking past the 5 percent voting threshold that earns the party federal taxpayer money, a source of frustration to opponents.

Observers consider the NPD a recruiting ground for even more extreme movements that openly endorse violence, deny the Holocaust, promote hate and attack democratic values.

The earlier attempt to ban the NPD failed when the Supreme Court learned that government informants instigated some of the allegedly unconstitutional activities. Since then, Jewish leaders and mainstream politicians have called for a renewed and more foolproof attempt.
 

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