German federal legislators may push forward a measure to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) after all 16 state governors gave their support for the legal action Thursday.
The Bundesrat, the upper house of the German legislature which represents the states, is set to vote on the measure Dec. 14.
"It is important that the constitutional body, the Bundesrat, follows this path and in doing so sends a strong signal against this racist and fascist party," said Torsten Albig, the governor of the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein and a Social Democrat, Der Spiegel reported.
The NPD has been described as neo-Nazi by critics and accused of inciting hate crimes through its fiercely nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Members have also been accused of being linked to the National Socialist Underground, neo-Nazi terrorist organization, though the NPD has denied any affiliation.
There is concern among some German politicians that seeking to ban the NPD could strengthen it should the measure fail.
"There's a political risk that we could help revive the fortunes of a party that is already fading," said Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, Reuters reported. "Everyone will have to ask: what will the propaganda value of this be for the NPD?”
A previous attempt to ban the NPD in 2003 failed after the Federal Constitutional Court could not determine whether it was unconstitutional due to the presence of undercover government agents within the party’s ranks, arguing that they may have influenced the group to adopt unconstitutional policies.
Last month the NPD filed a case with the court to declare it constitutional, which has been viewed as an attempt to pre-empt a ban. No ruling has been made on the case.
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