The NPD ban has failed, and no one will be found to step into the ring for a third round. German democracy must live with this party, which holds xenophobic and racist positions.
This is hard to bear for all those who have taken to the streets in Braunschweig, Wolfsburg and elsewhere to put right-wing extremist mischief in its place. But there is no other way, judges the Federal Constitutional Court. The NPD is not threatening enough – which is reminiscent of Wolfgang Petersen's classic "Das Boot": "The boat has to be able to take it," says the lieutenant captain at sea, while the rivets on the submarine hull burst around him.
Can the boat federal republic the NPD really off? This party is only a shadow of its former self in terms of mandates and organizational strength. But it is detrimental to peace in our country when the NPD, as a rallying point for the eternally outdated, offers protection and a facade to those who are actually fighting our democratic polity.
If you want to take something good from the decision: the Federal Constitutional Court firmly believes in the stability of German democracy. Given the massive increase in right-wing extremist-motivated crimes, this is a remarkable signal.
The plaintiff federal states should not grieve too much. At least they had the guts to clarify the ie of banning the NPD. Now that the cards are on the table, the substantive debate with the NPD will pick up speed. Democrats can only welcome that.