Neo-Nazi NPD faces tax-money windfall for victory in Saxony
Germany's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) stands to gain a taxpayer-funded windfall for being re-elected to Saxony's state parliament on Sunday, according to daily paper Die Tageszeitung.
The paper reported this week that the NPD is set to receive €100,000 of Saxon state money to fund its political foundation Bildungswerk für Heimat und Nationalstaat. The money would come from an already budgeted €800,000 set aside for the foundations of political parties represented in the legislature, said Stefan Schönfelder, the managing director of a foundation linked to the Greens party in Saxony.
The NPD set up its foundation in 2005, but it has had little impact, according to the paper. But that could soon change with the injection of state funding enabled by the neo-Nazi party winning more than five percent of the vote in Saxony on Sunday. The NPD says the foundation's far-right message aims to educate people about the German homeland and nationalism.
“This [re-election] shows the NPD has a core voting public,” Anetta Kahane, chairwoman of the Amedau Antonio Foundation in Berlin, told Die Tageszeitung, adding it was “sheer luck” that the NPD didn’t also win seats in the Thuringia state parliament at the weekend. In Thuringia the NPD fell just below the five-percent limit with 4.3 percent of the popular vote.
The right-wing extremists will certainly welcome any taxpayer money they can get their hands on, since the party's finances are in a dismal state. In 2008, the NPD treasurer was jailed for embezzling €700,000 of party funds into his kitchen studio company. And in May the party had to pay almost €1 million in fines after an investigation uncovered accounting irregularities from the late 1990s.
Schönfelder said the Saxon government could attempt to withhold the money from the NPD with the argument its foundation would propagate unconstitutional activity. "But the NPD would undoubtedly sue all the way to the Constitutional Court," he said.
Schönfelder said the government's criteria for political party foundations was so imprecise the NPD would almost certainly win any legal battle. There is no regulation enforcing that the party support democratic values and it must only back a particular brand of politics with "continuity and relevance."