REVIEW - Germany's AfD Party Scores Victory In Constitutional Court After Seehofer Ruling

BRUSSELS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 09th June, 2020) The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party scored a major victory on Tuesday after the country's Constitutional Court ruled that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had violated regulations on political impartiality after the minister said in an interview published on the ministry's website in 2018 that the AfD was undermining the German state.

Seehofer, who previously served as head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said in an interview with the DPA news agency that the AfD was working to undermine the state.

The interview was also published on the Interior Ministry's website, prompting the AfD to file a complaint in the Federal Constitutional Court based in the city of Karlsruhe.

Two years later, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the AfD, stating that Seehofer's comments were an "infringement of the principle of equality of opportunity," which necessitates that all government bodies maintain impartiality toward all of the country's political parties.

In court on Tuesday, judges ruled in favor of Germany's most prominent populist party, stating that Seehofer's comments had violated the country's constitution.

The law forbids the holders of government office from using their position to the detriment of political competitors. In this case, judges raised issue with the publication of Seehofer's comments on the Interior Ministry's website.

Prof. Jorg Meuthen, a member of the European Parliament for the AfD, told Sputnik that Tuesday's victory in court was a major success for the party.

"For us, the verdict is a clear success. We are happy since this verdict testifies that our constitutional state functions. It is a very good day for democracy in Germany and for the AfD," Meuthen stated.

While raising no issue with Seehofer's right to criticize the AfD party, Meuthen said that the interior minister made a serious error in publishing the interview on the Interior Ministry's website.

"What Mr. Seehofer did there was criticize [the AfD] harshly. No problem with us, it is political life, but if you distribute a lot of blows, you must be able to take some too. We do not complain that Horst Seehofer criticizes us. That is normal political competition. But it is essential that government resources are not used for that. That was the core of the problem," the AfD lawmaker in the European Parliament stated.

Alice Weidel, the AfD leader in the German Bundestag, slammed Seehofer in a statement after the Constitutional Court made its ruling, accusing the interior minister of not taking his constitutional duties seriously.

"Horst Seehofer got it in black and white from the highest German court that he doesn't take his constitutional duties seriously. The fact that the interior minister violated the German constitution, is quite embarrassing for the cabinet and the whole country. Seehofer should give up his job, which he is obviously not competent enough to do, and resign," Weidel said in a statement.

Another AfD lawmaker, Bernd Baumann, also praised the Constitutional Court's decision, stating that Seehofer can no longer use his position to make such divisive comments.


Seehofer's original comments were made after the AfD slammed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for advertising an anti-racism concert in the city of Chemnitz in 2018. The concert was held amid a wave of right-wing and anti-immigration protests after a German-Cuban man was stabbed in the city. The suspects were originally believed to be two immigrants.

In August 2019, a Syrian man was found guilty of the attack and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison.

In the wake of the stabbing, right-wing groups took to the streets to protest against the government's migration policy, which saw over a million people enter the country during the EU's migrant crisis in 2015.

As the protests took place in Chemnitz, left-wing groups scrambled to organize a large-scale concert that was attended by roughly 65,000 people. The AfD was critical of Steinmeier after the president advertised the concert on his Facebook page, adding that one of the groups scheduled to perform had previously advocated for far-left violence.

Back in 2015, Seehofer was critical of Merkel for permitting such a large number of migrants to enter the country, stating that the decision will have long-term consequences.

In the years that followed, the now-interior minister lost the presidency of the CSU and the AfD party has made rapid gains in Bavaria, taking 10.2 percent of the vote in the regional parliament elections held in 2018.


Tuesday's verdict is not the first time that the AfD party has secured a major courtroom victory. In 2015, then-Education Minister Johanna Wanka publicly spoke out against the AfD and its slogan of "Red Card for Merkel," stating in a press release that a red card should instead be shown at the populist party.

The AfD brought the case to the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, which ruled in 2018 that Wanka had breached regulations dictating the public neutrality of cabinet ministers.

During the ruling, President of the Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle also called on leading government ministers not to encourage citizens to take part in demonstrations or boycott an organization.

In 2017, the AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote in Germany's federal elections. With the next vote scheduled to take place in 2021, and growing anti-migration sentiment visible in the country, the populist party could further strengthen its position in the Bundestag.

According to the latest voting intention polls conducted by Germany's Infratest dimap, 15 percent of the German population would vote for the AfD, making it the third most popular party behind the CDU-CSU union (38 percent) and the German Greens (19 percent).