German president godfather to 'neo-Nazi' baby
In Germany the president becomes honorary godfather to a family's seventh child, but proud parents Petra and Marc Mueller's neo-Nazi sympathies are putting this tradition to the test.
President Christian Wulff's office on Wednesday said that the necessary certificate had been sent to the town hall in the village of Lalendorf in ex-communist eastern Germany, saying that it was the child that counted.
"The president has decided to proceed because this is not about the parents but about the newborn baby," a statement said. "Everyone is called upon to ensure that children grow up in a democratic environment."
But the mayor of the 3,300-strong village in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state, Reinhard Knaack from the far-left Die Linke party, confirmed he is refusing to give the certificate to the parents, he told AFP on Thursday.
"In our region we are working very hard against far-right extremists getting a foothold, so we cannot give the parents this honour," Knaack told the Tageszeitung daily. "The parents are far-right extremists."
The father of the child reportedly works for a "eugenics institute" while his wife belongs to a far-right women's group.
Norbert Nieszery, an MP in the state parliament, has written a letter -- signed by lawmakers from other parties -- to the president, just back from Israel, supporting the mayor and calling on Wulff to change his mind.
"There is no legal basis with which the mayor can be forced to hand over the certificate," he said, adding that the Muellers "want to do away with the rule of law."
The parents are also set to receive 500 euros (660 dollars), reports said.
After World War II, West Germany did away with the Nazis' practice of awarding a "Mother's Cross" to women who had multiple children in their lifetimes.
But in 1949 it established a new honour, the president's honorary godfather award, of which 76,440 have been bestowed.
© 2010 AFP