Debate about banning parties: The AfD dilemma


As of: January 17, 2024 11:58 a.m

Germany-wide demonstrations and discussions about a possible party ban procedure: Politics and society are once again increasingly concerned with the AfD. Will this make the party even bigger?

An analysis by Kilian Pfeffer, ARD Capital Studio

Since the research by the network “Correctiv On Wednesday last week everyone was talking about the AfD again. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich announced that the Bundestag wants to debate the secret meeting of individual AfD members with right-wing extremists in Potsdam at a current hour on Thursday.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser added further on Tuesday. A ban on the AfD is the “sharpest sword” available. She doesn’t rule it out, said the SPD politician SWR.

dilemma Prohibition procedure

Almost all top politicians have now commented on a possible ban procedure: Green Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck is not ruling out a ban. CDU leader Friedrich Merz has announced a tough confrontation with the AfD. SPD co-party leader Saskia Esken has shown herself open to a ban.

In fact, the AfD is extremely dangerous, says political scientist Wolfgang Schroeder from the University of Kassel. It would actually make sense and be necessary to ban the party. But: A ban procedure could lead to an even more difficult situation and radicalization in society, said Schroeder. Success is not guaranteed. That’s why he advises against initiating proceedings.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, FDP, says: “If such a procedure were to fail, it would be a PR victory for the AfD.” In other words: a ban procedure in which the party presents itself as a martyr could make it even bigger. A failure even more so.

Collect mosaic stones

In the daily topics The constitutional lawyer Alexander Thiele from the Business & Law School explained how a ban procedure works. Deeds, actions and words of AfD party members and officials would be collected. These mosaic stones then come together to form an overall picture. According to the “Correctiv” research, Thiele considers it “not unlikely that such a party ban procedure would have a good chance.”

A hearing date at the end of February before the Münster Higher Administrative Court is likely to play an important role. The question being discussed there is whether the AfD can be considered a right-wing extremist suspect nationwide.

Weidel switches to attack

On Tuesday afternoon, co-party leader Alice Weidel, a leading AfD politician, commented on the research by “Correctiv” for the first time. taken. She confirmed that she had separated from her colleague Roland Hartwig, who took part in the meeting. She doesn’t explain why, even when asked.

Weidel switched to attack. In connection with the research, she speaks of a “political and media scandal”. She accuses the “Correctiv” journalists of, among other things, “Stasi-like secret service and subversive methods.” The ARD capital studio has learned that some in the AfD parliamentary group consider Hartwig’s dismissal to be a mistake and see it as a kind of admission of guilt by Weidel.

In her statement she says that the AfD wants to exhaust all constitutional means, for example to introduce border controls. Criminals and migrants suspected of terrorism who do not have a right to stay should be expelled and deported. It remains unclear who Weidel means when she speaks of “abusively acquired citizenship” that could be revoked.

A double-edged sword

The AfD’s plans have brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets. There is hardly a medium that does not report on the topic, and hardly anyone ignores this topic. But public debate is a double-edged sword. Because in this way the AfD’s topics and theses will become even more present, and the party will become even larger than it currently is.

Ferda Ataman, the independent federal commissioner for anti-discrimination, warns: If you only talk about the AfD’s issues, you are playing into the party’s hands. You have to respond to people’s worries and needs.

Philip Brost, ARD Berlin, tagesschau, January 17, 2024 11:28 a.m

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