BERLIN (AP) – A court ruled on Tuesday that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency can designate the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as a suspected case of extremism, rejecting a suit by the far-right opposition party.
The administrative court in Cologne delivered its ruling in a long-running dispute between AfD, five months after a national election in which the party secured a reduced but still solid 10.3 per cent of the vote.
The court found that there were sufficient indications of anti-constitutional aspirations inside the party, news agency dpa reported. Judges found that AfD’s hard-right faction, known as The Wing, has officially been dissolved but prominent figures continue to exert significant influence.
AfD, which was formed in 2013, has moved steadily to the right over the years. Its platform initially centred on opposition to bailouts for struggling eurozone members.
But it was its vehement opposition to then Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow in large numbers of refugees and other migrants in 2015 that established it as a significant political force. It entered the national parliament in 2017. More recently, AfD has portrayed itself as a champion of resistance to coronavirus restrictions.
AfD leader Tino Chrupalla said the party was “surprised” by Tuesday’s verdict and will now consider whether to appeal. He said it disagrees with the ruling and will continue to push for “alternative politics” in Germany’s national and state parliaments.