In recent years, Germany has seen the rise and fall of political parties that fight against the democratic nature of the government, and for years these very parties have received funds from the government to stay afloat. However on Thursday, the German Bundestag put the funding up to a vote, and after a 502 of 579 majority, the rules now limit government funding to parties aiming to uphold the constitution and democrat freedoms of the country.
“political participation in our country is unwanted.”
One of Germany’s more vocal far-right parties, the National Democratic Party (NPD), immediately condemned the vote as it will no longer be receiving government funding, and it will cast doubt on the groups continued existence as its membership has seen a steady decline after the rise of other extremist groups, including the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The NPD views the vote as a personal attack on their party alone, and in response, chairman Ronny Zasowk wrote that the vote makes it clear to “all those with unpopular opinions that their political participation in our country is unwanted”.
“no obligation to finance enemies of democracy.”
Those who supported the vote to defund, did so with the belief that handing money over to the parties that want to destroy the government dishing it out is just counterproductive and a waste of funding. “The state is under no obligation to finance enemies of democracy,” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement before the Bundestag went for the vote. “Devoting tax money to the NPD is a direct state investment in radical right-wing incitement.”
Before this vote, German law allowed for any party collecting 1-percent of the vote in local elections, or 0.5-percent in national, to receiving a match of funds up to the amount the party itself had raised. The NPD has had enough support to qualify with 1.5-percent locally and 1-percent nationally, but unless they choose to contest the new policy in the court, the 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million) that it had received from Germany last year will be its last.