German far-right party must pay back state

13th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 November 2006, Berlin (dpa) - The leader of a far-right-wing party in Germany conceded Sunday that the Nationalist Democratic Party (NPD) owed hundreds of thousands of euros to the German government. The penalty, a major blow to the party which has never come near the 5-per-cent threshold needed to win seats at federal level, was announced Friday by parliamentary authorities after an inquiry into accounting irregularities involving fictitious memberships. Udo Voigt, re-elected leader of the party late S

13 November 2006

Berlin (dpa) - The leader of a far-right-wing party in Germany conceded Sunday that the Nationalist Democratic Party (NPD) owed hundreds of thousands of euros to the German government.

The penalty, a major blow to the party which has never come near the 5-per-cent threshold needed to win seats at federal level, was announced Friday by parliamentary authorities after an inquiry into accounting irregularities involving fictitious memberships.

Udo Voigt, re-elected leader of the party late Saturday at a national conference in Berlin, told reporters the party would "have to tighten its belt" but it was not clear yet if it would offer its office building in suburban Berlin as security to raise cash.

German political parties are entitled by law to federal funds in proportion to the number of votes they receive at elections. The NPD must return 870,000 euros (1.1 million dollars) in state funds. Efforts to outlaw the NPD failed in March 2003 on legal grounds.

Some 400 demonstrators protested outside the conference venue as the meeting began Saturday.

Reporters were excluded during discussion of the NPD financial crisis and were only briefly allowed to see stalls where neo-Nazi stickers and music were on sale to delegates.

Voigt began his keynote address by welcoming delegates to the Reich capital, a Nazi-era term for Berlin.

The meeting by the far rightists in Berlin brought fresh calls in Germany for legal action against the group.

Ralf Stegner, interior minister of the state of Schleswig Holstein, said in a newspaper interview that he would seek a coordinated domestic intelligence inquiry into where the NPD was obtaining the rest of its funding.

DPA

Subject: German news

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