Failure on the Far Right NPD's Racist Election Campaign Flops

Germany's far-right NPD party saw its support slip to 1.5 percent in Sunday's federal election from 1.6 percent in 2005 as its overtly xenophobic campaign failed to attract new voters. But that won't stop it getting millions of euros in public funding.
The far-right NPD saw support drop slightly in Sunday's German election.

The far-right NPD saw support drop slightly in Sunday's German election.

Foto: Z1031 Jan Woitas/ dpa

Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) failed to win over new supporters with a blatantly xenophobic election campaign ahead of Sunday's federal election.

However, it still attracted enough votes to secure more than €1 million of taxpayers' money in party funding. Meanwhile, its decision to take part in a regional election in the eastern state of Brandenburg on Sunday seems to have all but killed off a rival extreme-right party.

The NPD saw its vote slip slightly from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent across the country in the federal election. It did better in eastern Germany than in the west of the country. In the two eastern states where it already has representatives in the regional parliaments it even increased its support. In Saxony it scored four percent of the vote and in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it secured 3.3 percent.

Nevertheless, the party wasn't able to profit from the economic crisis, usually fertile ground for the far right. While it resorted to racist slogans, including posters warning of a "Polish invasion" and fake deportation orders  sent to Berlin politicians with an immigrant background, the party never really offered any suggestions in their campaigns for dealing with the downturn.

Alienated by Open Racism

Richard Stöss, a researcher into right-wing extremism at the Free University in Berlin, says the NPD not only risked being prosecuted for such antics, it probably turned off potential voters. He told Die Welt newspaper that the party's prospective voters are not only neo-Nazis but also nationalist conservatives. "They felt alienated," by such open racism, he argues.

Despite losing support, however, the party is still assured of public funding of more than €1 million a year for its election campaigns. Any party that scores more than 0.5 percent of the votes in the elections to the Bundestag and the European Parliament or more than 1 percent in the state elections gets 85 cents per vote. From 4 million votes upwards that is reduced to 70 cents per vote. A total of 635,437 people voted for the NPD in the federal election on Sunday.

The NPD also seems to have killed off some competition on the far right. It opted to contest the state election in Brandenburg that was also held on Sunday, despite having previously agreed to a pact with the far-right German People's Union (DVU) to not oppose each other at a state level. This decision effectively split the far-right vote. While the NPD scored 2.5 percent, the DVU scored only 1.2 percent, a huge drop compared to its 6.1 percent in 2004. Both parties thus failed to surpass the 5 percent hurdle and will, therefore, not be represented in the Brandenburg parliament. However, Klaus Beier, the NPD party leader in Brandenburg, was pleased with the result, telling reporters it was "a good basis for us to build on."

smd with wire reports
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