The German parliament will have to pay €50,000 to the extreme right NPD party after a court ruled that just because it merged with another party, it should not be responsible for that other party’s finances.
The NPD sued after its party financing was withheld by the federal authorities. Money is granted to every political party according to the level of popular support.
Officials said the move was to compensate for money due to be repaid by the DVU – another extreme right party which merged with the NPD in 2010.
But the Berlin administrative court ruled on Thursday that according to political party law, no merger had taken place – rather the DVU had been closed and was in liquidation, leaving no residual responsibility for the NPD.
The parliamentary administration is now checking to see whether in this case, the claims of the DVU for party financing should also not be carried over to the NPD. A statement said officials would examine the court’s ruling to see what consequences could be drawn from it.
A further legal fight between the NPD and the parliamentary administration remains undecided – concerning €2.5 million which the party was told by another court to pay after serious problems were found in its accounts for 2007. The party’s appeal will be heard at the federal administrative court in December.
Also on Thursday, the deputy head of the NPD Udo Pastörs was handed an eight-month suspended sentence after being convicted of slandering and defaming the victims of the Nazi dictatorship.
Pastörs is a member of the Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania state parliament, spoke there during a January 2010 debate of “a victory of lies over the truth” and of a “cult of guilt” and “theatre of concern”.
The judge was shown a video of Pastörs talking, which she described as hate speech. His defence had argued that he enjoyed parliamentary indemnity, which guarantees freedom of speech to members of state and federal parliaments.
But the judge agreed with the prosecution’s contention that the law specifically excludes libelous defamation from that protection, although she did say the particular case was a question of interpretation.
Pastörs was convicted of incitement in October 2010 by a court in Saarbrücken which gave him a 10-month suspended sentence and fined him €6,000. That verdict is not yet legally binding, so it has no bearing on the sentence from Thursday.