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Germany

German Far-right Aims for National Alliance

After scoring a big win in an eastern state poll last weekend, the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party has said it aims to join forces with other far-right parties for the 2006 national election in Germany.

Successful in Saxony, the NPD's Holger Apfel is eyeing Germany

National Democratic Party (NPD) spokesman Klaus Beier said his organization would hold talks soon with the slightly less extremist German People's Union (DVU), which did well in a separate state election Sunday, on the creation of a "national alliance."

However, an effort to recruit Germany's third major far-right party, the Republicans, failed. Their chairman, Rolf Schlierer, said that the Republicans supported the German constitution and rejected the "systemic change" as demanded by the NPD.

The head of the NPD, Udo Voigt, said Tuesday that his party was working for the "defeat of the liberal capitalist system" although it claimed to support the laws that are the foundation of Germany's post-war society.

The NPD, the most extremist of the three rightist parties, scored 9.2 percent of the vote in the depressed eastern state of Saxony on Sunday and the DVU achieved 6.1 percent in Brandenburg, the rural state surrounding Berlin.

No chance nationally

"German jobs for Germans first," read DVU campaign posters in Brandenburg

Both parties cleared the five-percent hurdle to representation in the state assemblies on the back of widespread anger over the state of the economy and the government's social welfare reforms, which are also backed by the conservative opposition.

But the NPD and DVU also cleverly carved up turf beforehand, agreeing to have only one far-right party compete in each state election. Mainstream parties have vowed to isolate them in day-to-day politics.

Although the NPD claims that the far-right could win 7 percent of the vote in a national election, analysts give it little chance of parliamentary representation.

The German government failed in its attempt to have the NPD banned last year before the country's highest court because a number of witnesses were considered not to be credible.

Ban unlikely

German Interior Minister Otto Schily said on Wednesday the government would not make a second attempt to ban the party. But last week he criticized the court's decision to close the case against the NPD on the grounds that several of the witnesses had ties to Germany's Verfassungsschutz, the country's domestic intelligence agency.

German Interior Minister Otto Schily

"A party with clear xenophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda is getting into legislatures," Schily said in an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland. "That is a result of a very problematic decision of the Federal Constitutional Court."

Schily's comments caused some members of the lower house of the German parliament to formally request time to debate the issue of the failed ban and the success of the far-right in the recent elections. Several opposition parliamentarians said Schily was wrong to place the blame for the latest rise of the extremist parties on federal judges.

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