Be careful what you wish for: Banning politicians like Björn Höcke, a leader of the Rightist tendency within the AfD, may well turbocharge them (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


AfD in Saxony classified as ‘extremist’


The State Office for the Protection of the Constitution Saxony (SOPCS) has designated the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party an “extremist” group.

The decision comes after a four-year review process. The SOPCS claimed to have “conclusively” demonstrated the AfD’s State association pursued what it said were anti-constitutional goals.

The president of regional domestic intelligence service Dirk-Martin Christian said: “There is no longer any doubt about the right-wing extremist orientation of the AfD Saxony.”

“The State association of the AfD may be heterogeneous in terms of personnel but in terms of content and programme, the so-called solidarity-patriotic camp predominates,” he said.

Christian stated this camp emerged from the former so-called “Flügel” –  “whose spiritual father and leader is the right-wing extremist Björn Höcke and which now forms and dominates the character of the entire State association”.

Leading AfD figures and elected officials are accused of making right-wing extremist remarks without the party publicly distancing itself from or, at the very least, “engaging in spirited discussion” about it.

According to the SOPCS, the party seems more a “monolithic bloc”.

It said numerous substantive positions of the AfD State association were directed against the basic principles of the free democratic order.

For example, on the migration issue, against the guarantee of human dignity enshrined in the Constitution. The party represented “typical völkisch-nationalist views”, it said.

The Saxony branch of the AfD also was accused of propagating widespread anti-Semitic, primarily conspiracy-theory based, viewpoints. For instance, talking about “globalism” and “international financial elites”, are, according to the SOPCS, coded messages.

The Saxon State Association of the Young Alternative, a youth organisation, had already been identified as a legitimate right-wing extremist group back in April.

According to the Saxon Green parliamentary group, it must now also be examined to what extent the civil servants who are functionaries of the AfD “should be removed from the civil service”.

In response to the charges, Jörg Urban, the leader of the AfD’s State and parliamentary group, said: “The upgrade was foreseeable because the AfD is currently the strongest force in the new federal states. However, there is no factual foundation for the upgrade.”

Urban added: “It’s obvious that the Government is using this protection purely for electoral purposes. Thus, it is detrimental to democracy.”

Carsten Hütter, a spokesman for security affairs and a member of the Parliamentary Control Commission, said: “Spying on and ostracising our party using the intelligence service shows how desperate people in the CDU/SPD/Greens coalition must be in the year before the State election in Saxony.

“It is an admission of their own failure. A failure that is as obvious as the political instrumentalisation of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

“Hardly anyone has believed in the neutrality of the authority in the Free State since the unlawful storage of MPs’ data came to light a few years ago.”

The AfD in Saxony is the third State association to receive the “extremist” designation, following Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt.

The AfD had 27.5 per cent of the vote in the 2019 State elections in Saxony.

The party’s support in the State, according to recent polls, is now at 33 per cent or above, equal to or ahead of that for the mainstream  Conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The other parties all rate much lower.