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Germany's top court rules far-right party's ideology makes it ineligible for funding

A party flag is seen on the façade of the then headquarters of the German right wing party NPD in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008.
A party flag is seen on the façade of the then headquarters of the German right wing party NPD in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008. Copyright Michael Sohn/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Michael Sohn/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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The vice-president of the court said that the party's political concept was incompatible with the German constitution's guarantee of human dignity.

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Germany's highest court ruled on Tuesday that a small far-right party will not receive state funding for the next six years because its values and goals are unconstitutional and aimed at destroying the country's democracy.

In its judgment, the Federal Constitutional Court wrote that Die Heimat, formerly known as the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), "continues to disregard the free democratic basic order and, according to its goals and the behaviour of its members and supporters, is aimed at its elimination".

Presiding Judge Doris Koenig, the court's vice-president, explained the unanimous decision by saying that the party's political concept was incompatible with the guarantee of human dignity as defined in Germany's constitution, the Basic Law.

Die Heimat adheres to an ethnic concept of German identity and the idea that the country's "national community" is based on descent, the judge said.

People gather as they protest against the AfD party and right-wing extremism in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany.
People gather as they protest against the AfD party and right-wing extremism in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany.Ebrahim Noroozi/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

"The propagation of the ethnically defined community leads to a disregard for foreigners, migrants and minorities that violates human dignity and the principle of elementary legal equality," Koenig said.

The German government, as well as the lower and upper houses of parliament, took the party to court. They presented evidence that they said proved Die Heimat was a racist organisation, with anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic ideology, and also pointed to its rejection of transgender people.

The government created the possibility of denying state funding to a political party after two attempts to ban Die Heimat failed. German news agency dpa reported.

Party leader Frank Franz played down the significance of Tuesday's ruling.

"Yes, it's not nice for us," Franz said, according to dpa. "But anyone who thinks this will throw us out of the game and stop us is very much mistaken."

How much money did Die Heimat receive?

Political parties in Germany receive financial support mostly based on their representation in state, national and European parliaments.

Die Heimat has received no state support since 2021. It received around €370,600 in 2016, when it won 3.02% of the vote in state elections in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, according to dpa.

Another far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), has been surging in recent opinion polls. Recent polls have put the AfD in second place nationally, with support of around 23$, well above the 10.3% it won in Germany's last federal election in 2021.

In its eastern German strongholds of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, polls show the AfD as the most popular party ahead of elections this autumn.

Leading German politicians have discussed the possibility of trying to ban the AfD or exclude it from financial support, but no one has yet made a serious attempt to do so.

More than 800,000 people took to the streets of Germany's major cities this weekend to denounce the far-right party.

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The demonstrations followed last week's news that some members of the far-right party had attended a secret meeting in November last year where they allegedly discussed plans for mass deportations of immigrants and Germans with a migrant background.

The scandal has revived a row over whether the country's largest far-right party should be banned.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser welcomed the Constitutional Court's decision on Tuesday, saying it "sends a clear signal: Our democratic state does not finance enemies of the constitution.

"The forces that want to corrode and destroy our democracy must not receive a single cent of state funding to do so," Faeser added. "Even if the constitutional hurdles for future proceedings remain high, we now have another tool to protect our democracy."

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