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Fears of Right-Wing Extremism Put Germany’s AfD Party in the Hot Seat

MIN READJan 27, 2021 | 18:49 GMT

A campaign poster for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) reads "Freedom instead of socialism" in Krewelin, Germany, ahead of state elections on Sept. 1, 2019.

(JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party may soon be designated as a “suspected case” of extremism, which would do short-term harm to the AfD’s electoral chances, while amplifying broader disputes on regulating speech that the party could then exploit to sustain long-term relevance. According to press reports, Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), is preparing to announce whether it will treat the whole AfD as a threat to the country due to the growing influence of right-wing extremism (RWE) within the party. Doing so would allow the BfV to covertly surveil the AfD and its members, after a two-year investigation and a series of escalating measures. The BfV reportedly has identified numerous instances in which AfD politicians have used inflammatory, hateful language -- often against immigrants and racial, ethnic or religious minorities -- to promote RWE narratives that the BfV considers...

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