German court ruled that AfD adheres to goals ‘against democracy’

On May 13, a German High Court ruled that German security agencies could continue to designate the far-right Alternative for Germany as a potentially extremist party, allowing them to keep AfD under surveillance.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which is in charge of preserving Germany’s democratic system from extremist threats, has classified the AfD as possibly extreme since 2021.

AfD’s designation as a potentially extremist party did not violate the Constitution – High Court

According to Reuters, judges at the Muenster Higher Administrative Court confirmed a lower court’s 2022 judgment that the designation was appropriate and did not violate the Constitution, European law, or national civil law.

“The court finds there is sufficient evidence that the AfD pursues goals that run against the human dignity of certain groups and against democracy,” the judges stated.

“There are grounds to suspect at least part of the party wants to accord second-rank status to German citizens with a migration background.”

The AfD party, which leads in surveys in several eastern regions that will hold elections later this year, has recently faced criticism for racist remarks made by members, as well as suspicions that it shelters Russian and Chinese spies and helps spread Kremlin propaganda.

Cases of espionage for China and influence campaigns for Russia

In recent weeks, several high-profile cases of espionage for China and influence peddling in favor of Russia have implicated Alternative for Germany.

In Dresden, police arrested German citizen Jian G., who works as an assistant for AfD member of the European Parliament Maximilian Krah in the European Parliament.

A close adviser to a leading member of the far-right populist AfD party was accused of “an especially severe instance” of espionage, prosecutors said. This event came after the arrests of three German citizens accused of industrial spying for China in return for payment.

In April, Belgium opened a criminal investigation into possible Russian interference in the elections after the Czech government said it had uncovered a Russian network that tried to influence politics, including payments to European politicians.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that investigators found that Russian groups are meddling in the EU election to promote pro-Russian candidates and thus weaken European support for Ukraine against Russia’s war aggression.

This network included the pro-Russian platform Voice of Europe. The involved politicians, suspected of promoting pro-Russian propaganda, include Petr Bystron and Maximillian Krah, leading members of the Alternative for Germany party.

Motives of the AfD’s lawsuit

Few observers expected the AfD’s lawsuit to win the lower court verdict. The party did not present any new evidence, instead taking hours of court time with lengthy motions that sought to include high government officials as witnesses.

According to Reuters, some analysts believe the court case was more of a publicity campaign and a plan to block the state’s institutions than a legal approach.

In a statement, the AfD stated, without providing further information, that the court had mirrored several of its objections to the BfV and that it would appeal. This new finding resolves the facts of the case: an appeal could only challenge how lower courts implemented the law.

Key points of the AfD’s election program

According to their election program for the upcoming European elections, the AfD intends to join forces with the Identity & Democracy group, which includes the French far-right party, Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, and Italy’s Lega, to combat the “continuous erosion of the sovereignty of nation states.”.

The party’s medium-term goal is to “abolish the undemocratically elected EU Parliament,” principally “driven by its anti-European stance upon its creation.” Until the EU is restructured as the envisaged Confederation of Nation States, the Council should have legislative authority and be “bound by the decisions of the national parliaments in their voting behavior.”

The German extreme right also expressed pro-Russian sentiments. The EU candidates, led by Maximilian Krah, want Germany to change its foreign policy toward China and Russia in exchange for more US “sovereignty” over the country. “We plan to expand Germany’s relations with the Eurasian Economic Union and lift the economic sanctions against Russia.”

The AfD did not demand that Russia end the war in Ukraine, which was the reason for the West’s sanctions against Moscow.

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