German court temporarily blocks observation of AfD party – A defeat for the Merkel regime

A German court on Friday temporarily blocked the country’s domestic intelligence agency from putting the Alternative for Germany party under observation due to suspicions of extreme-right sympathies, as a legal appeal is heard.

The Cologne state court said the party, known as AfD, could not be classified or treated as a “suspected case” of extremism until a decision was made on an emergency brief submitted by the party, after it alleged the intelligence agency broke a court order not to make such a classification public.

In an ongoing legal battle, the AfD has been fighting against being classified as “suspected” by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, known by the initials BfV, arguing that the publicity surrounding such a move so close to the Sept. 26 national election would damage the party’s electoral chances.

With court cases still pending, the BfV had been forbidden to make any announcement of such a classification, but on Wednesday the German press widely reported that BfV president Thomas Haldenwang had informed state branches of the intelligence service that the AfD had been deemed a “suspected case.”

Following the ruling, the AfD called for Haldenwang’s resignation and for “political consequences” for his boss, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

“Who protects us from the protectors of the constitution?” AfD parliamentary leader Alexander Gauland asked reporters.

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