"Sufficient evidence": constitutional protectors monitor the AfD in the southwest

In Baden-Württemberg, the Junge Alternative and the right-wing nationalist "wing" are already under observation.

"Sufficient evidence": constitutional protectors monitor the AfD in the southwest

In Baden-Württemberg, the Junge Alternative and the right-wing nationalist "wing" are already under observation. Because of clear signs of anti-constitutional efforts, the entire national association becomes an object of suspicion and individual members can be observed.

The AfD is now officially being observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Baden-Württemberg. The state association is classified as a so-called suspect object, as CDU Interior Minister Thomas Strobl explained. The secret service agents are allowed to take a closer look at the right-wing populists and, under strict conditions, observe members and monitor phones or recruit informants. The security authorities see "sufficiently weighty factual evidence" for anti-constitutional efforts in the AfD Baden-Württemberg. The secret service thus followed the assessment by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

With the observation, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution wants to find out whether the suspicion of extremism can be substantiated and whether the group can possibly be classified as proven extremist. This is already the case, for example, with the state association in Thuringia, which is headed by the co-state chairman Björn Höcke, the most prominent representative of the right-wing current of the party.

The state associations of the AfD are judged very differently by the respective state authorities. In Lower Saxony, too, the AfD is an object of suspicion - as in other countries, only in some of them this may not be publicly communicated due to state laws.

In the southwest, only the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative and the right-wing national "wing" of the party have been observed by the intelligence services. These movements are also cited as the reason why the entire party is now being targeted by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution: The extremist tendencies have a structural influence on the state association, explained Beate Bube, President of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The influence of these groups has grown, the concept of people represented there is in contradiction to the central basic principles of the constitution. The AfD's election program for the state election clearly contained xenophobic positions.

Interior Minister Strobl said that extremist forces are formative for the image that the Südwest-AfD is giving. From Strobl's point of view, the new assessment may also affect civil servants who are members of the party. "Membership in the AfD can now be an indication that someone is not on the ground of the free-democratic basic order." That is not compatible with civil servant status, but there is always a case-by-case decision. The CDU politician justified the drastic step with a decision by the Cologne administrative court. The party had complained there against the classification as a suspected case by the Federal Office, but the court had agreed with the protection of the constitution. The Baden-Württemberg state association cannot be viewed in isolation from the federal association, explained Bube.

The state chairwoman Alice Weidel spoke of an "arbitrary act". "The AfD, as an opposition party critical of the government, should obviously be silenced," she said. "As Democrats, we won't put up with that and will take legal and political action against it, just as we do at the federal level." AfD parliamentary group leader Bernd Gögel was surprised that the interior minister's announcement came just a few days before an AfD state party conference. A directional decision on the future course of the AfD in Baden-Württemberg is expected at the weekend in Stuttgart with the election of a new chairman, because Bundestag faction leader Weidel no longer wants to run as state chairman.

The policeman and member of the Bundestag Martin Hess wants to run and pretends to want to take a moderate course. Opposing candidate Dirk Spaniel, also in the Bundestag, was said to be close to the "wing" in the past. The parliamentary secretary of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, said the AfD remains a party that wants to undermine democracy. "The observation by the Baden-Württemberg Office for the Protection of the Constitution is therefore only right and, in my opinion, overdue."

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