German states launch lonely bid to ban far-right NPD
BERLIN - ReutersGermany's 16 states launched a battle Dec. 3 to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) after the federal government failed spectacularly a decade ago to outlaw a party its critics say shows an affinity for Hitler's Nazis.
Fearing another court defeat, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government opted not to formally back the petition to the Constitutional Court to ban the NPD, which the domestic intelligence service has called "racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist."
Banning a political group is difficult in Germany, still haunted by memories of Nazi and communist regimes which crushed dissent. A previous attempt by the federal government in 2003 to ban the NPD failed, causing deep embarrassment.