Neo-Nazi hardliner joins Germanfar-right party's leadership

1st November 2004, Comments 0 comments

1 November 2004 , LEINEFELDE - Germany's extreme rightwing National Democratic Party (NPD) has voted a militant neo-Nazi onto the party executive and vowed to form a "people's front of the right". Thorsten Heise, an influential figure in the violent neo-Nazi group 'Freier Kameradschaften', won a place among the party leadership in a first round of votes at the party's conference. The NPD shocked mainstream political parties by winning 9.2 percent of the votes in a regional election in the eastern state of

1 November 2004

LEINEFELDE - Germany's extreme rightwing National Democratic Party (NPD) has voted a militant neo-Nazi onto the party executive and vowed to form a "people's front of the right".

Thorsten Heise, an influential figure in the violent neo-Nazi group 'Freier Kameradschaften', won a place among the party leadership in a first round of votes at the party's conference.

The NPD shocked mainstream political parties by winning 9.2 percent of the votes in a regional election in the eastern state of Saxony in September.

It now wants to forge an electoral alliance with another extremist party, the German People's Union (DVU), to boost the far- right's chances of winning parliamentary seats at national elections in 2006.

NPD chairman Udo Voigt said the alliance would make the parties, which are both strongly opposed to immigration, "a strong national entity".

The NPD also wants to draw on the neo-Nazi scene as part of a "German people's front" combining the "far right" as well as conservatives, Voigt said.

Voigt said he would also be prepared to work with the Republicans, another far-right party which has so far rejected the NPD's advances.

The move to include the neo-Nazi scene was underlined with the vote to accept Heise on the national executive.

Heise is a former state leader of the banned neo-Nazi Free Workers Party and has previous convictions for offences including serious assault and incitement.

Two other neo-Nazi candidates withdrew from the vote.

However, DVU leader Gerhard Frey told the conference in the eastern town of Leinefelde the far-right parties should distance themselves from the neo-Nazi scene.

Voigt replied that "historical National Socialism" was dead but that "national Socialists" were welcome in the NPD.

He said Germany was "being swamped by foreigners", and called for a law to exclude all foreign nationals in Germany from the welfare system. Voigt also wants a new "form of state", saying he regarded the present constitution as temporary.

Meanwhile police said eight people were still in custody on Sunday after 17 arrests were made at a demonstration the previous day in Potsdam near Berlin against a neo-Nazi march. They were expected to appear before a magistrate.

Fourteen police were injured in clashes when around 1,000 protesters tried to block the march by 350 neo-Nazis.

Police used water cannon to disperse the protesters, who were among about 2,500 who took part in the demonstration.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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