German neo-Nazi councillor loses case over handshake snub

11th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

A town councillor for Germany's neo-Nazi party who lodged a legal complaint after the mayor refused to shake his hand suffered a defeat in court Wednesday.

The tribunal ruled that mayors in eastern Thuringia state do not have to offer their hand to far-right town councillors during their swearing-in ceremonies, according to a statement by the court in Gera.

It rejected the case brought by a National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) member of the Greiz town council, identified in a media report as David Koeckert.

He had complained that he felt discriminated against after the snub at his June 2014 maiden town council meeting.

While municipal rules foresee the mayor offering handshakes to new councillors at the first meeting, the administrative court decided the gesture was only symbolic.

Refusing to shake hands bore no legal disadvantage that could justify a legitimate claim, it added.

At the national level, no big far-right movement has so far managed to enter parliament. However, the NPD has had lawmakers in several eastern states.

© 2015 AFP

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