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Germany puts AfD under surveillance ahead of national elections

Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) have placed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) under surveillance. That designation gives state agents more powers for surveillance in certain circumstances, including potentially tapping the party's communications.

A court in the city of Cologne last week rejected an urgent motion by the AfD to stop the BfV from placing it under formal investigation. The party said any announcement that it was being investigated would undermine its right to fight the election on an equal footing to other political parties.

In response, the BfV said it would not make any formal announcement on investigations into the AfD for the foreseeable future. The same would apply to candidates standing in elections in 2021. Although the AfD is the largest opposition party in parliament, it has seen its popularity flat-line and even wane since establishing itself in 2017's election.

It is set to contend six regional elections this year and a general election on September 26. Nationwide, it is currently polling in the region of 10%, after logging 12.6% in 2017.

"Decision of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is scandalous and politically motivated"
Several high-ranking AfD politicians reacted with criticism to the decision. Party leader Tino Chrupalla said: “The action taken by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is scandalous and neither legally nor constitutionally tenable. It is an interference in the free competition of democratic parties with state resources.” The authority had deliberately given the information about the decision to the media “in order to influence the democratic party competition at the expense of the AfD”. This is unique in the history of the Federal Republic.

AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel accused the BfV on Twitter of acting “purely politically”. “This is particularly noteworthy in view of the state and federal elections this year. Of course, we will take legal action against the unjustified classification of the AfD.”

Sources: Deutsche Welle / Junge Freiheit
Photo: John MacDougall/​AFP/​Getty Images
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