Court: German Populists Can Only Field 30 Candidates in Regional Election
The Saxony Constitutional Court has ruled that the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) will only be allowed to field 30 candidates in next month’s regional election.
The court ruling comes after a previous ruling by the Saxony election authority last month which stated that irregularities during the candidate selection process voided the selection of the majority of the party’s nominees, Die Weltreports.
While the decision means the party will not be able to field their full list of 61 candidates in the election, it is a victory of sorts for the party as the election commission had previously declared that just 18 candidates would be allowed to participate in the vote.
The election commission had previously taken exception to the party holding two separate events to select the candidates, claiming that only the first party congress was valid and that the method of candidate selection had also changed between the two events.
The judges of the Constitutional Court ruled that the election commission move was “not compatible with the Saxon electoral laws” and added that the motion to only allow the AfD 18 candidates was “clearly unlawful”.
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Jörg Urban, leader of the AfD in Saxony, announced on Friday that he would be challenging the restriction on candidates after the election, saying, “What happened here is a very dramatic process. This is because a breach of law has taken place.”
The Saxony AfD leader also said he would pursue criminal charges against members of the election administration and would look into similar charges against members of the Saxony Interior Ministry.
Several polls show the AfD in second place to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), often by only two or three percentage points, with a Civey poll conducted in late July showing the AfD at 25.4 percent to the CDU at 27.1 percent.
Across all of Eastern Germany, the AfD leads all parties, including the CDU, according to a poll released earlier this month.
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