A senior German MP has announced that he will propose a complete ban on the populist Alternative for Germany party. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)


German MP proposes complete ban on populist AfD party


A senior German MP says he will propose a complete ban on the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Christian Democrat Marco Wanderwitz has suggested that a vote on the topic could be held in the Bundestag (Parliament) before it breaks for summer recess, arguing that such a move was now the only way the party could be stopped.

“The AfD is a big threat,” the former special commissioner for Eastern Germany under the Angela Merkel government told media outlets, urging people to cast out any “illusions” they may have that the group can be stopped at the ballot box.

“Particularly in the East, the party can no longer be brought down politically,” he said.

“The AfD’s large core electorate wants a different country, one that no longer has anything to do with the free, democratic basic order of our Basic Law [Constitution],” he insisted.

Such a narrative has been challenged by commentators; historian Katja Hoyer told Brussels Signal that a ban on AfD would do nothing to stop populism in the country.

“The AfD in itself isn’t the threat to German democracy that people rightly worry about – the anger that has underpinned its rise is,” the expert in East German history explained.

“Even if an AfD ban was successful, it wouldn’t abolish disappointment with mainstream politics alongside the party that channels it.”

“As uncomfortable as this notion is for mainstream politicians, they need to bring voters back through better politics not by telling them that their choices are wrong,” the author of Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990 added.

Wanderwitz is the latest politician to push for a complete nationwide ban on the AfD.

Several other representatives floated the possibility last year as the party rose to record highs in the polls, with many expressing scepticism that they would be able to beat it using purely political means.

The AfD’s strength in the post-Communist East has particularly spooked mainstream groups, with many worrying that the region could become ungovernable without the party following state elections in September.

Wanderwitz reportedly needs the support of 37 of the Bundestag’s 598 members to formally float the legislation. The politician claims to have already received support from many politicians across the political spectrum.

Should he manage to successfully land the motion in the Parliament, it will need just a simple majority to be passed.

In such a scenario, the Bundestag’s President, Bärbel Bas of the Social Democratic Party, would then be instructed to write a legal brief in favour of the AfD ban to be submitted to Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.