Germany’s official parliamentary opposition party, the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), faces possible observation by the security services just eight months before the country’s national election.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, could classify part of the AfD as right-wing extremist, opening the party up to spying by the bureau.
Meanwhile, the party has filed a lawsuit against the police ahead of the looming decision on whether or not the government will consider elements of the AfD radical enough to justify it being under observation, Radio Télévision Suisse reports.
German Government Puts Populist AfD Party Under Surveillance https://t.co/p4uRSN8TXe
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 17, 2019
According to the broadcaster, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently reviewing a 1,000-page report to determine the next course of action.
If the entire party is deemed a “suspected case”, it would allow the BfV to not only wiretap party officials but to send in undercover operatives to monitor the party, as well.
Party chairman Jörg Meuthen commented on the situation earlier this month, saying: “It is quite obvious that the AfD does not offer the Office for the Protection of the Constitution the slightest reason to classify it as a suspected case.”
The threat of observation emerged last year following focus on a socially conservative part of the party known as the “Wing”, which was eventually dissolved in April. The AfD also fired one of the Wing’s leaders, former Brandenburg chairman Andreas Kalbitz.
German Intelligence Used Antifa 'Research' to Build Case Against Populists https://t.co/mYK26kjd74
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 24, 2019
Kalbitz was expelled for alleged associations with a far-right youth movement in 2007. He won an emergency injunction against his expulsion, but a court upheld his removal in July. The youth wing of the party, Junge Alternativ, also came under BfV scrutiny in 2019.
The AfD, which currently serves as the official opposition to the coalition of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), has also seen national poll numbers slump in recent months.
An Insa poll released earlier this week shows the party with 10 per cent of the vote, trailing behind the CDU, SPD, and the Greens. The polling is also 2.6 per cent lower than their 2017 election result. A Forsa poll released this week showed the party even lower, at nine per cent.
Germany, Forsa poll:
CDU/CSU-EPP: 37% (+2)
GRÜNE-G/EFA: 18% (-1)
LINKE-LEFT: 7% (-1)
+/- vs. 16-17 Jan.
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) January 26, 2021