In Germany, the far right could be banned for its proximity to neo-Nazis

In Germany, the far right could be banned for its proximity to neo-Nazis

An article can sometimes have the effect of a bomb. The revelations by the investigative media Correctiv on the holding of a secret meeting in November 2023 led to a wave of protest in Germany. This meeting between members of small neo-Nazi groups and several executives of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), a populist eurosceptic party, classified on the far right, would have been an opportunity for discussions on the policy to be put in place if this movement came to power. A few months before the European and regional elections in the eastern Länder of the country, recent polls credit it, it is true, with around 20%. At the heart of these discussions and the ensuing protest is a “remigration” plan aimed at deporting millions of immigrants.

In response, 1.4 million Germans took to the streets during an anti-AfD mobilization from January 19-21. “The rise of a neo-Nazi party called NPD had already provoked demonstrations in the past,” recalls Jérôme Vaillant, professor emeritus of German civilization at the University of Lille. In 2003 and 2017, this formation was even under the threat of a ban after an appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court, which was ultimately rejected. In the 1950s, the Communist Party and a neo-Nazi party were banned. And last week, this constitutional court paved the way for the end of public funding for a small group, Die Heimat, because of its desire to replace “the existing constitutional order with an authoritarian “national state”.

A party under surveillance

After the success of an online petition bringing together more than 700,000 signatories, the question of banning a political group this time concerns AfD. “This movement is under the surveillance of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution because it is suspected of bringing together an anti-constitutional tendency,” supports Jérôme Vaillant. But, like the NPD in its time, AfD takes care to control overly radical demonstrators within it. » The request therefore has little chance of going through, due to a lack of sufficient evidence for the magistrates.

“The success of the AfD party cannot be explained only by the rejection of immigration,” analyzes Éric-André Martin, secretary general of the Committee for the Study of Franco-German Relations. It is also the expression of a deeper malaise which has its roots in the recession, the cost of energy and the threats of relocation. The answer to be given is more of a political nature. » To compete with AfD, Hans-Georg Maassen, conservative figure of Christian democracy (CDU), opposed to the opening of borders during the refugee crisis of 2015, has just created his own party. On the other side of the spectrum, Sahra Wagenknecht, former executive of the radical left party, Die Linke, launched anti-system training around, in particular, the need to reduce immigration. A turning point which is reminiscent of that of many parties in Northern Europe, which, for several years already, have decided to invest in this theme in order to return to electoral success.

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