“Demokratie, Rechtsstaat, Gewaltenteilung, Grundrechte, ein freies politisches Leben und das Recht auf eine wirksame Opposition”

Democracy, rule of law, separation of powers, basic rights, a free political life and the right to an effective opposition.

A pundit professor on public broadcaster ARD said these are in principle the “core substance” of the German constitution [Grundgesetz] and what that document means by the “freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung” [basic underlying free democratic order], which it said political parties in Germany can be banned for attempting to impair or eliminate. On 03 Dec 2013 the Bundesrat submitted another petition to the supreme constitutional court in Karlsruhe asking the court to ban the neonazi-esque N.P.D. party on grounds such as these, based this time on party members’ public statements rather than evidence collected from paid informants.

The German constitution outlaws actions that reduce democracy for future generations.

(Dame awk rah TEE,   WRECKED shtot,   geh VAULT en TILE oong,   GRUNED wrecked eh,   eye n   fry ess   poll it ish ess   LAY ben   oont   doss   WRECKED   ow! f   eye neh   VEAHK zom eh   opp oh zee tsee OWN.)

Parteiengesetz

“Political parties law,” which defines some German election rules.

An Armistice Day article in Spiegel.de on the continuance of the neonazi-legacy N.P.D. party’s temporary loss of government political party financing due to “chaotic bookkeeping” mentioned some interesting aspects of German public financing of political parties and the parties’ reporting obligations. Under the Parteiengesetz, the German government gives all parties that receive at least 0.5% of the vote in Bundestag or European Union elections, and/or 1% in state elections, 85 eurocents for each vote received in E.U., Bundestag and German state parliamentary elections. That is reduced to 70 eurocents per vote >4 million votes. “Also, for each euro a party receives as a membership fee or donation, up to 3300 euros, the government pays another 38 eurocents.”

This money is paid to the parties in quarterly installments.

Spiegel.de said the N.P.D.’s financial trials began in 2007 when a Thuringian N.P.D. official named Golkowski was caught using fake donation receipts in order to get more matching funds from the government. This may have been going on since the 1990’s. The error was compounded by the so-called “chaotic bookkeeping” in that year’s year-end reporting that should have been glass-clear in order to avoid more trouble but in which party treasurer Köster apparently misplaced almost 900,000 euros by using the wrong tables at one point. As per the Parteiengesetz, the N.P.D. had to return the inappropriately obtained donation-matching funds (almost 900,000 euros) and pay a fine double that amount. Accordingly, the Bundestag announced the N.P.D. would be fined 2.5 million euros for the malfeasance, but in December 2012 the supreme constitution court in Karlsruhe, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, reduced the fine to 1.27 million euros because, they said, the Bundestag had overlooked the fact that the radical right-wing party had provided “coherent/conclusive explanations” [“schlüssig erläutert“] of some of the points they were accused of. In May 2013, in response to the N.P.D.’s accelerated appeal to the supreme constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht said the government would have to pay the N.P.D.’s 15 May 2013 and 15 Aug 2013 quarterly payments “in advance” until a final court decision in the main hearing on the fine’s legality; this financed the party until at least the 22 Sep 2013 Bundestag election.

On 11 Nov 2013, the Bundesverfassungsgericht announced that the neonazi party’s fine would not be cancelled more yet and their 15 Nov 2013 payment can now be stopped. Although the N.P.D. had filed an accelerated appeal to the nation’s highest court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht said the party had not exhausted its relevant appeals in Berlin. The N.P.D. said they need this money now more than ever, with the E.U. Parliament election coming up.

Spiegel.de’s chart shows government contributions to the N.P.D. from 2003 to 2011. Red bar numbers represent government contributions in millions of euros. Beige bar numbers are government funding’s percentage of total N.P.D. income that year.

(Pot EYE en gezz ETZ.)

2649 Belege

2,649 pieces of evidence” which have been collected in a report that will be used in preliminary discussions of another runup to an attempt at banning the far-right German political party NDP (“usually described as a neonazi organization“) for violating the German Constitution. Every failed attempt to ban the NPD apparently has worse consequences than if they hadn’t made the effort, which is one reason why Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) said he’s skeptical about the current process. In 2003, the high court in Karlsruhe could not ban the NPD because too many people involved with the party and trial had been paid informants (V-people) for various government agencies. The current report has acknowledged that pitfall by collecting its 2,649 evidence items from public statements rather than testimony from potentially compromised witnesses.

On 5 Dec 2012 one of the small number of government institutions (Bundesverfassungsorgane, lit. “Federal Constitution Organs”) authorized to petition to ban a political party in Germany—in this case the state governors, who were also the group behind this report—unanimously voted to try again to ban the NPD. As Tagesschau.de explained in an online guide to this procedure, the hurdles for banning a political party in Germany are quite high due to lessons learned during the Weimar Republic.

Update on 22 Nov 2013: The federal states announced their petition to ban the N.P.D. party is now complete and will be submitted to the supreme constitutional court [Bundesverfassungsgericht] in Karlsruhe in early December 2013. The federal parliament, Bundestag, and federal government had decided not to join a new attempt at a ban, after failing to achieve one ten years ago before the court in Karlsruhe. The N.P.D. is currently experiencing financial troubles.

Update on 03 Dec 2013: The petition to ban the N.P.D. was submitted to the Bundesverfassungsgericht, which will decide whether to hear the case. Only two political party bans were ever issued in the Federal Republic of Germany, and both were more than fifty years ago, said ARD tagesschau.de legal correspondent Christoph Kehlbach.

(TSVYE t ow! zant, ZEX hoond errrt, N OY! N   oond   FEER tsig   beh LAY geh.)

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