Actually, it's supposed to be about content: When the AfD from Saturday to their Federal Party Conference The party wants to finally fill a gap in its program and give itself a profile in terms of pensions and social policy. But it's not debates about precautionary models that are most preoccupying the AfD at the moment.
The year was dominated by headlines about the bitter dispute over Andreas Kalbitz's membership and scenes like the one recently in the Bundestag, when Youtubers invited as guests by the AfD parliamentary group harassed members of parliament from other parties. And then there is always the Federal Office for the Protection of Interception , Where soon a decision on a Observation of the party could fall.
AfD: The Verfangsschutzer will look closely at Kalkar
At the Verfangsschutzern in Cologne one will follow straight this party conference attentively. For almost two years, the agency has been intensively engaged with the AfD. Already since January 2019, it is considered "Test case" – but only "internally. Read about it: Esken: Verfangsschutz should monitor AfD more closely
The latest disruptive actions in the Bundestag during the vote on the Infection Protection Act , but also the re-election of right-wingers Bjorn Hocke as co-leader of the Thuringian state association, the Cologne authority is likely to have confirmed in its analysis that the Right-wing populists radicalize.
The "wing" has dissolved – a feint?
Hocke was for a long time at the head of the "wing" with his about 7.000 members. The organization was classified by the Verfangsschutz as "a secured right-wing extremist effort against the free democratic basic order" and has since disbanded. But Verfangsschutz president Thomas Haldenwang thinks it's a feint.
Because: the supporters of the former right-wing nationalist "wing" are not gone. Rather, according to the assessment of the Verfangsschutz, they are fighting for more influence in the AfD. With success? A party conference is like an open stage there.
Initially, a check only means that an organization is being targeted by the Verfangsschutz. It is based on anti-interception content scanned. But this process must be open-ended. That is why Haldenwang is not allowed to publicly refer to the party as a test case, according to a ruling by the Cologne Administrative Court. Because that would already be a stigmatization.
An "examination" can also end with an "acquittal"
An "examination" includes the possibility that the party does not have any Danger for the free democratic basic order represents. A party cannot remain on the test bench forever. Haldenwang once said that it would take no longer than two years to get a result. The court has long been under time prere – according to this logic, a decision can be expected by the end of January 2021 at the latest.
In the case of a suspicious case – the next higher level – there are already well-founded indications and the office has more means at its disposal to gain knowledge about a grouping. Now begins a systematic gathering of information at the federal and state levels. The AfD youth organization JA is such a suspicious case.
The "wing" – from suspicion to observation case
If the suspicion is confirmed, then an organization – like the "wing" – is classified as a right-wing extremist effort against the free democratic basic order, henceforth observed and mentioned in the annual Verfangsschutz report.
In Cologne, they can then completely unpack the instrument case and use all intelligence means: The intelligence service can intercept the party's communications, V-men infiltrate sources in the inner circles of the organization.
A decision against the AfD in an election year could be a deterrent
It is hardly to be expected that the "examination" will end harmlessly. The Verfangsschutz's employer, the Ministry of the Interior, stays out of it to maintain neutrality. But in view of the radicalization of the party, it is said in ministry circles that "they are just begging for it" – for a stricter classification by the Verfangsschutz (the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution).
The timing is unfavorable for the AfD: a decision just in the middle of the year election year 2021 . This could scare off potential voters and especially those supporters who are employed in the public sector and from whom one may particularly expect loyalty to the cause.
Was Kalbitz's fall a signal from party leadership to Cologne?
In the party one looks therefore with concern to the coming decision of the Verfangsschutz. The maneuver of Party leader Jorg Meuthen , the "wing" leader and Ex-Brandenburg state leader Andreas Kalbitz The decision to revoke membership in the spring could be interpreted as an attempted signal to Cologne: Look here, we are doing something against the most radical of the party. Read in addition: AfD: Kalbitz successor is "proven right-wing extremist"
But in parts of the party, resentment over Kalbitz's expulsion is smoldering – and this weekend it could take hold. Thus is found in the 155-page Application book for the party conference also a motion calling for the "divisive behavior" of the party leader in the Causa Kalbitz to disapprove expressly. The "crash in voter favor" – the AfD has not been able to get above 11 percent in polls for months – is directly related to this.
"I am very much in favor of debating the actions of Jorg Meuthen in the current year at the weekend," says the Deputy party chairman Stephan Brandner this editorial. Meuthen's ideas and behavior in 2020 have "so far been anything but conducive" to the party as such and its unity. He advises him to "refrain from such things in the future," Brandner said. Doesn't sound like reconciliation.