|German chief can call neo-Nazis 'loonies'
Germany's president Joachim Gauck has the right to call members of a neo-Nazi party ''loonies,'' the country's top court ruled.
The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint by the far-right, anti-immigrant National Democratic Party of Germany against the remark last August by the largely ceremonial head of state.
The court gave the president a wide berth for how he performs his functions and what issues he chooses to address.
''Specific statements by the Federal President can only be objected to before the courts if the Federal President takes sides in a way that clearly neglects the integrative task of his office, and thus takes sides in an arbitrary manner,'' it said in a statement.
''This was not the case here.''
The president made the comment to students after the NPD helped organize protests against a refugee center that had opened in East Berlin.
Gauck, once a Christian pro-democracy activist in communist East Germany, said: ''We need citizens who rally in the streets and put these loonies in their place.''
The court acknowledged that the term ''loonies'' could be seen as defamatory.--AFP