Hajo Funke, emeritus professor of political science at Berlin’s Free University, told news agency DPA: “The party is not in good condition. It’s weak and in tatters.”
The party has come under extreme financial pressure since Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, slashed its funding in February after the party failed to pay a fine of over €1 million for accounting irregularities. Seven full-time workers in the party’s central office in Berlin lost their jobs as a result of financial strain.
The NPD conference, thought to be taking place in the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan area in southwestern Germany, coincides with Hitler’s birthday on April 20. The event had been scheduled to take place earlier this month in the Bavarian town of Coburg but had to be cancelled because the local council refused to remove construction rubble which had been blocking access to the venue.
The far-right party, which some suspect of having links to the neo-Nazi terror cell which masterminded the murder of eight Turkish and one Greek workers between 2000 and 2006, has been at the centre of heated debate over a ban proposed by Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat.
Many believe the party, which is characterized by racist rhetoric, should not receive public funding. In March, however, German politicians in the Bundestag opted against a ban, in the belief that proving to the courts that the party was unconstitutional would be too difficult and that prohibiting the party would push it underground, making it more dangerous.
The NPD has no seats in the federal parliament but is represented in two states in eastern Germany. Funke believes that despite its difficulties the “NPD will continue to exist.”