Cologne / Berlin (dpa) – The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) does not want to disclose a possible classification of the AfD as a suspicious case.
This could make an originally announced preliminary decision of the Cologne Administrative Court on this matter superfluous. There, the AfD had filed a lawsuit against the protection of the constitution. She asked, among other things, to prohibit the Office for the Protection of the Constitution from identifying her as a suspect case and from making this public. “In view of the ongoing proceedings and out of respect for the court, we are not speaking publicly on this matter,” the Cologne-based authority said Monday. The AfD invokes, among other things, the parties’ right to equal opportunities.
The administrative judge had promised an interim decision on Monday, a so-called pending decision. This is a preliminary decision that can be taken at a very short notice. In the afternoon, however, a court spokesman announced that no decision would be taken on Monday.
According to media reports, the federal office for the protection of the constitution wanted to make a decision this week on how to deal with the AfD. Accordingly, the AfD should be declared a suspected right-wing extremist case. Such categorization, such as classification as secured extremist efforts, may result in the use of intelligence services.
“Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer sees it very critically that information about a possible impending sighting of the AfD has been passed on to the media from the ranks of the conference of interior ministers,” said a spokeswoman for the ministry. Regardless of this complex of issues and current media coverage, it is generally important that any federal government action and decisions are treated with due care and discretion by all those responsible.
Criticism also came from the Greens. “I am annoyed by the fact that the information about the possibly imminent observation of the entire AfD was pierced from the ranks of the conference of interior ministers,” said domestic politician Konstantin von Notz of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”.
For some time now, media reports have speculated that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution could soon classify the AfD as a suspicious case of right-wing extremism. According to the participants, the president of the federal office, Thomas Haldenwang, said at the conference of the federal and state ministers of the interior in December that he expected a decision in January.
When asked whether it was appropriate to announce a new report on the AfD for January in view of the upcoming federal election in September, Haldenwang said shortly afterwards in an interview with the German news agency: “Our legal mandate is also to inform the population about anti-constitutional efforts. Inform. ”Even in the run-up to an election, his authority must“ be able to inform the public if we observe anti-constitutional efforts of any kind ”.
The number of AfD members fell last year for the first time since 2015. As a spokesman announced when asked, the party had about 32,000 members at the beginning of this year. At the beginning of 2020, he said, 34,750 people were still members of the AfD. According to the AfD, the decrease in membership can only be explained by cleaning up the card index. “Just over 1,400 of the net losses stem from the AfD’s termination of membership for non-payment of contributions,” said press spokesman Peter Rohling. This was the “first real land consolidation” since the party was founded in 2013.