The NPD – now known as “Die Heimat” – has not received any money from state party financing for years. That was because of the election results. Now Karlsruhe has made a further judgment.
Because the right-wing extremist NPD is anti-constitutional, the Federal Constitutional Court has excluded the party, renamed “Die Heimat”, from state party funding for six years.
“The respondent continues to disregard the free democratic basic order and, according to its goals and the behavior of its members and supporters, is aimed at its elimination,” said the presiding judge of the Second Senate, Doris König, in Karlsruhe. It was the first case of its kind at Germany’s highest court.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) welcomed the decision. The party itself appeared unimpressed and announced that it would continue its work. The ruling is also likely to be discussed in relation to the AfD. (Ref. 2 BvB 1/19)
Human dignity and the principle of democracy
König explained the Senate’s unanimous decision that the party’s political concept is still incompatible with the guarantee of human dignity within the meaning of the Basic Law. So she sticks to the ethnic concept of the people and the idea of the German “national community” as a community of descent. In order to realize the “German national community”, she calls for the separation of cultures and ethnic groups, a comprehensive legal improvement for all those who belong to this community and the devaluation of the legal status of all those who do not belong.
“The propagation of the ethnically defined “national community” results in a disregard for foreigners, migrants and minorities that violates human dignity and the requirement of elementary legal equality,” said König. Evidence presented shows that the party’s racist, particularly anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy attitude, as well as its negative attitude towards social minorities such as transsexual people, continues unchanged.
In addition, the party opposes the principle of democracy. “It wants to replace the existing constitutional order with an authoritarian nation state oriented towards the “ethnic community,” said König. They despise the existing parliamentary system and call for it to be overcome.
Change in law made exclusion possible
The legislature created the option to exclude funding after the second unsuccessful NPD ban procedure in 2017. The Constitutional Court rejected a ban at the time because there was no evidence that the party could achieve its anti-constitutional goals.
The legislature then created the possibility of exclusion from party financing. The Bundestag, Bundesrat and federal government then requested that the NPD and possible replacement parties be excluded from partial funding for six years. The period is specified by law. The 129-page judgment also eliminates tax benefits for the party and donations to it.
Federal Interior Minister Faeser emphasized that the court’s decision sent a clear signal: “Our democratic state does not finance enemies of the constitution.” The constitutional hurdles for future proceedings remain high, said Faeser, according to the statement. But “we now have another instrument to protect our democracy.”
How party financing works
According to the party law, parties can receive money from the state for their work. The sum is calculated according to a specific key, where, among other things, votes play a role. To be eligible, parties must achieve minimum shares in the most recent elections at state, federal and European levels.
Since the NPD recently failed to do this, according to Bundestag figures, it has not received any money since 2021. A year earlier it was around 370,600 euros – it received 3.02 percent of the votes in the 2016 state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Blueprint for the AfD?
There was a scandal at the oral hearing in July last year because no party representative appeared – according to the court, a one-off event. Die Heimat didn’t send anyone to the verdict either. The party chairman Frank Franz admitted in writing that the verdict was not good for Die Heimat. “But anyone who thinks that would throw us out of the game and stop us is seriously mistaken.” Strengthened by the support of its members and donors, the party will go its own way. According to a spokesman, the party has around 3,000 members.
From the perspective of the ex-NPD, the decision “banished unwanted competition from this funding.” It was said that an example had been made against a “party loyal to the people”. “If it has now hit Die Heimat, the focus is now, as expected, on the AfD.”
CSU boss Markus Söder, for example, brought up the option of a funding exclusion procedure in the current debate about a possible AfD ban. However, for such an exclusion, the court would also have to determine that the AfD is unconstitutional – so the criteria are largely the same. The only difference: the so-called potential to eliminate or impair the free democratic basic order, which is necessary for a ban and which the court did not see in the case of the NPD.
No informants at management level
Judge König explained that the so-called freedom of the state had not been violated in the current proceedings. According to this, no informants or undercover investigators may be deployed at the management levels of the party concerned during the ongoing funding exclusion process. In addition, based on the certificates submitted, it can be assumed that the party’s litigation strategy had not been spied on. “The application is therefore admissible.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.