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Neo-Nazi Party Surpasses Co-Ruling Social Democrats in East German State Poll

Alex Constantine - September 7, 2007

Berlin, Sept 7, IRNA

Germany-Poll-Neo-Nazi Party

The German neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) party has surpassed the co-governing Social Democrats in the east German state of Saxony, news reports cited a poll released by the Forsa institute.

Some nine percent of voters would cast their ballots for the far-right party compared to only eight percent for the Social Democrats.

The NPD made international headlines in 2004 after winning 12 seats in Saxony's state parliament.

Meanwhile the NPD also secured seats last year in the legislature of the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

While there have been calls by the German public to outlaw the neo-Nazi party, the German government is wary of a new legal bid to bar the NPD after the country's highest court in 2003 blocked a previous attempt to ban the right-wing extremist party.

The court refused to hear the case because the government cited statements by party members who turned out to be paid informers for state authorities.

Germany had been the scene of a series of vicious neo-Nazi attacks over the past weeks, targeting mostly foreigners.

All in all, the number of crimes committed by neo-Nazis reached a new peak in Germany in 2006 as officials openly admit that their efforts to combat far-right crime have failed.

Some 18,142 neo-Nazi crimes were registered in Germany last year , up from 15,900 in 2005.

The number of anti-foreigner attacks stood at 511 in 2006, indicating a 37 percent rise from the previous year.

The latest figures were a "cause for concern", German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying earlier this year.

"Unfortunately, our multi-faceted efforts have not led to a lowering this kind of crime," he added.

Political observers link the dramatic increase in the number of far-right delicts to the recent success of neo-Nazi parties in key regional elections in several east German states.

Young neo-Nazis feel more and more emboldened to commit hate crimes, knowing that police won't really charge them with an offense.

Most of the suspects implicated in neo-Nazi crimes are under 21 years old. Neo-Nazi assaults are mainly concentrated in economically depressed eastern Germany, which has yet to recover from the whiplash transition from Communism to capitalism.

Some 17 years after the German reunification, prospects are still bleak for those living in the five eastern states.

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