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Bonn Interior Ministry Says Government Has New Basis for Avoiding Action on Npd

January 21, 1969
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An official of the West German Ministry of Interior said on a television interview today that the Government should not be expected to take action to outlaw the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party (NPD) because new information about the party indicated that barring it was not the right method to deal with the problems it posed. The remark, by Heinrich Koppler, Secretary of State for the Ministry, appeared to contradict earlier statements by Minister of Interior Ernst Benda that there was ample evidence to warrant banning the NPD as anti-democratic under West German law. Mr. Koppler said the new information was derived from studies of the NPD’s “social structure.” Mr. Benda’s evidence was compiled in an investigation of the reputedly neo-Nazi party by the ministry which was completed last fall. It was to have been the basis of a Government appeal to the Constitutional High Court in Karlsruhe for a ban on the NPD. Such an appeal had been under consideration for some time but the Government hesitated to move for fear that a rejection of its brief by the court would invest the NPD with respectability. The party, headed by Adolf von Thadden, espouses ultranationalistic views and many tenets of the old Nazi Party but has been careful to remain within the bounds of West German law. It holds seats in seven West German state legislatures and will stand for election to the Bundestag (lower house) next fall. Mr. von Thadden has predicted that his party would poll 10 percent of the national vote and win 50 Bundestag seats.

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