Does a party that is anti-constitutional but not banned qualify for government funding? The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe wants to clarify this question – and is treated with contempt by the party in question.
For the first time, the judges must clarify whether an anti-constitutional party can be excluded from state funding even if it is not banned. The NPD ban failed in 2017.
Karlsruhe said: The NPD is anti-constitutional, but politically no danger to democracy. But the court gave an important hint at the time: Even if a party is not prohibited, state funds can still be withdrawn from it under certain circumstances. The constitution was then changed. In 2019, the Bundestag, Bundesrat and federal government jointly applied to exclude the NPD from state funding.
This was negotiated in Karlsruhe today. Peter Tschentscher, Governing Mayor of Hamburg from the SPD, justifies the motion as follows: “The NPD has been classified as a right-wing extremist, anti-constitutional party by the Federal Constitutional Court. And a party whose work is aimed at undermining the state, at eliminating it , such a party must not be supported by the state.”
No representative of “homeland” present
The NPD – now renamed “Die Heimat” – had argued before the start of the proceedings that it would violate the principle of equal opportunities if it were excluded from party funding.
Surprisingly, not a single representative of “home” appeared in court today. The party only informed the constitutional court two hours before the hearing. On her website she spoke of a “show trial”. A fair trial cannot be expected.
Tschentscher believes that the party’s absence is a sign that the constitutional institutions are not being honored: “I think it’s the first time in the history of the Federal Constitutional Court that those involved in the proceedings have not appeared at all. It really shows in the overall basic attitude that that this party disregards our constitution, the state and the constitutional organs.”
Faeser: procedure “more than justified”
The NPD has not received any government grants since 2020. The reason: too few votes in federal, state and European elections. Nevertheless, the exclusion from state funding is important, says Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). If “Die Heimat” ran again in elections and got enough votes, “then it would be financed again.” In this respect, the procedure is now “more than justified”.
The applicants also emphasized that the NPD continues to benefit from tax advantages for parties. The party recently received inheritances of up to 500,000 euros and did not have to pay taxes.
No money – although not forbidden?
In terms of content, Karlsruhe must decide a fundamental question: Can a party be excluded from party funding even though it is not prohibited?
This question could also play a role for other extremist parties. Maybe in the long term also for the AfD. Because it is observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and is considered to be right-wing extremist in parts.
Should Karlsruhe judge that the exclusion from party funding is permissible if a party pursues anti-constitutional goals, then proceedings against the AfD would theoretically also be possible. Before the conclusion of the Karlsruhe NPD proceedings, however, this is speculation. A verdict is not expected for a few months at the earliest.