Germany Can Monitor AfD as Threat to Democracy, Court Rules

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s domestic intelligence agency can continue to monitor the far-right Alternative for Germany as a suspected case of extremism that represents a potential threat to democracy, according to a ruling Monday.

Most Read from Bloomberg

The AfD filed a legal challenge to a decision by the BfV agency to classify the party, as well as its youth organization and a now-dissolved radical group within it known as the “Wing,” as suspected extremist cases.

Judges in Muenster backed the view of a lower court in Cologne that there was enough evidence of anti-constitutional activity to warrant enhanced monitoring, they said in a statement.

The court “is convinced that there is sufficient factual evidence that the AfD is pursuing efforts that are directed against the human dignity of certain groups of people and against the principle of democracy,” according to the ruling.

The extremist designation means that the authorities are allowed to deploy measures like tapping phones or using informants to monitor potential illegal activity.

While the court didn’t allow the AfD to appeal, the party said it will challenge that at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

“It is incomprehensible that the panel of judges did not allow the appeal, even though we spent days debating complex legal issues,” Roman Reusch, a member of the AfD leadership committee, said in a statement. “We will of course appeal to the next instance.”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the ruling showed that Germany has a “resilient democracy” and that the state protects it “against threats from within.”

The AfD remains the second-strongest political force in Europe’s biggest economy after the conservative CDU/CSU bloc, although support for the party has slipped ahead of next month’s European Parliament elections due to a series of controversies.

It had managed to feed off widespread discontent with Scholz’s ruling coalition to rise as high as 23% in some polls, but has since dropped back to as low as 15%.

It’s still leading in polls for three regional elections due in September in its eastern German stronghold, but is unlikely to get into government there as all other parties have indicated they won’t join it in coalition.

Why German Far-Right AfD Party Has Run Into Trouble: QuickTake

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Monday’s ruling confirmed that the domestic intelligence agency has a “clear legal mandate to take action against extremism and protect our democracy.”

“The assessment of the AfD as a suspected case of right-wing extremism was carefully justified and has now been found to be lawful,” Faeser, a member of Scholz’s Social Democrats, said in an emailed statement.

--With assistance from Karin Matussek and Patrick Donahue.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.