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Interior Ministry to probe ban of far-right NPD

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Interior Ministry to probe ban of far-right NPD
Photo: DPA
09:13 CEST+02:00
Discussions surrounding a possible ban of Germany's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) have taken a major step forward after the Interior Ministry agreed to participate in a working group to look into the matter.

A fax to the state Interior Ministry of Saxony-Anhalt, seen by the Hamburger Abendsblatt daily, thanked the federal ministry for its efforts to open a working group and promised to take part.

The decision by Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has come as a surprise to many, considering his long-term scepticism toward banning the extremist party after a 2003 attempt failed in the courts.

Following the mass killings in Norway by a far-right attacker, however, the movement has gained steam and Friedrich came under increasing pressure.

The current banning attempt seems to have wide support from the German population and many politicians, including the head of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

But it will face opposition, not only from the NPD and its supporters, but from some constitutional scholars who worry it could set a bad precedent. There are also concerns that the government's long-term practice of having informants in the party could make the courts sceptical about the banning, as they were last time.

As of last week, there was not a political majority supporting the idea, although that could begin changing if Friedrich is seen as removing his opposition.

Hamburg Interior Senator Michael Neumann, who has played a key role in attempts to ban the NPD, termed Friedrich's change of heart as a “breakthrough.”

“In particular, I am glad that the minister has abandoned his opposition,” Neumann said.

The Local/DPA/mdm

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