In the legal disputes with the AfD, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution with the Cologne Administrative Court has not had the best experience so far. In 2019, the court in the district of the authority’s first office had forbidden the protection of the constitution from speaking publicly about the fact that they are reviewing the AfD for its attitude to the free democratic basic order.
Now the party is going into the next round: the test case should become a suspected case – and again the AfD is defending itself before the administrative court in Cologne, not just against the new classification. The party also wants to prevent the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution from publicly naming the number of supporters of the extremist sub-organization “Flügel” until it disbanded itself or from giving an assessment of how many supporters there are today. But at least on this point, the court has now found the protection of the constitution right.
Dominant in the east
As the administrative court ruled on Tuesday, the authority that classified the “wing” as extremist last March can continue to announce that the sub-organization had 7,000 members until its formal dissolution and that the number of members will continue to be 7,000. The AfD wanted to prohibit this through an interim regulation by the court because it threatened irreparable damage in political competition. The number of 7,000 was also fictitious, argued the AfD. Its publication has a stigmatizing and detrimental effect because it gives the political views represented by the “wing” a meaning that they actually do not have in the party.
In the urgent procedure, the Cologne judges weighed up interests, which was to the detriment of the AfD. Because they saw the consequences of the number 7000 becoming known to be minor, since this number was made public earlier, for example in the constitutional protection report.
The current “wing”, which was led by AfD politicians Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz, officially disbanded shortly after being classified as extremist tendencies last year, but is still influential from the point of view of the protection of the constitution. The protection of the constitution see the dissolution of the “wing” as a tactical maneuver by the AfD. The “wing” has no official membership, but dominates the East German state associations of the AfD. He is considered tightly organized and makes targeted personnel policy in the party. For the decision to classify the whole party as a suspected case, it depends above all on how strong the influence of the “wing” still is.
No decision on the second count
Shortly before the dissolution, President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, spoke of a “significant increase in importance” of the “wing” in the AfD, and that the current had solidified its structures. Haldenwang attested the “wing” in March of last year violations of defining characteristics of the free democratic basic order, human dignity, democracy and the rule of law. In addition, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution warned that “wing” followers in the public service would have a problem with their department in the future.