By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) – Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled against a proposed ban on the far-right National Democratic Party, or NPD.
Federal judges unanimously rejected an application filed by Germany’s 16 federal states to outlaw the NPD. It had argued the party’s activities were a threat to democracy.
While recognizing concerns over the anti-constitutional aims of the NPD, federal judges claimed the party did not have the potential to realize these goals.
Judges said: “The NPD acts in a systematic manner and with sufficient intensity towards achieving its aims that are directed against the free democratic basic order. However, (currently) there is a lack of specific and weighty indications suggesting that this endeavor will be successful.”
"If, on the contrary, the acts of a party do not even suggest that it might possibly succeed in achieving its anti-constitutional aims, it is not necessary to protect the Constitution preventively by prohibiting the party,” they added.
The upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s 16 federal states, applied to the Constitutional Court in 2013 to ban the NPD.
A 250-page file presented to the court listed examples of NPD activities alleged to constitute a threat to Germany’s democratic constitutional order.
Tuesday’s decision marked the second failed attempt to ban the far-right party, which has seen increased support in recent months amid the refugee crisis and has mobilized thousands in anti-refugee and anti-migrant rallies.
In 2003, the court turned down a similar application to outlaw the NPD on the grounds that there were various informants and undercover agents belonging to the domestic intelligence agency in key party positions.
Founded in 1964, the NPD has been the most active far-right party in the country.
In the last federal elections in 2013, it failed to pass the five percent threshold needed to enter the federal parliament, but managed to get 1.3 percent.
The party receives around €1.4 million euros ($1.5 million) in state funding.