Dispute over electoral list: AfD gets approved in Saxony more places

AfD Saxony Constitutional Court

Judge Birgit Munz at the trial on Thursday.

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picture alliance / dpa

In the dispute over their candidate list for the state election in Saxony, the AfD has achieved a partial success in the Saxon Constitutional Court. The party may compete in the poll on September 1, according to the current status with 30 instead of only 18 candidates on the list. The Leipzig judges decided on Thursday in an express procedure. The first 30 places of the list were determined in a single election procedure, then the AfD chose for reasons of time in the block.

Also in the actual procedure, in which the question is whether the reduction of the list was right, the court wants to create clarity even before the election. This decision is scheduled for 16 August, the court said. However, the Chair Judge Birgit Munz already found clear words on Thursday: “The decision of the State Electoral Committee to delete these listings is based on preliminary evaluation with high probability unlawful.”

AfD insists on the approval of canceled candidates

The decision of the Saxon constitutional judge of Thursday referred to applications of the AfD, with which the party sought the provisional admission of the canceled candidates. The judges came to some extent. Above all, they focused on the consequences for the state parliament election: consideration was given to the adverse effect which could result from “a presumably erroneous decision of the provincial electoral committee”. “The election to the 7th Saxon State Parliament would then have been carried out on the basis of a decision that does not sufficiently take into account the constitutionally guaranteed equal opportunities of the AfD to this extent,” it said. As a result, this could lead to new elections being necessary.

Henning Homann, secretary general of the SPD Saxony, said: “I think the court has made an important decision because it protects the democracy in Saxony.” In his opinion, the decision reduces the probability of a new election after the state election on 1. September.

The Saxon AfD expressed contradictory. Party boss Jrg Urban presented the decision as a “great victory for the AfD” and “Victory for Democracy.” A little later, however, his party announced in a statement, they were with the decision “not satisfied.”

Originally set up 61 candidates

The AFD is legally resisting the reduction of its national list, which the State Electoral Committee decided on 5 July due to formal shortcomings in the nomination of candidates. From originally 61 list candidates only 18 were admitted to the state election. Among other things, the committee complained that the AfD chose its candidates at two party congresses and later changed the electoral procedure adopted at the time. However, it was no longer about 43 rejected applicants, but only 41. Because for the list places 54 and 60 would not be formal conditions, it was said after the trial in Leipzig.

The chairman of the Land Electoral Commission Saxony, Carolin Schreck, said: “I think it is gratifying that the Saxon Constitutional Court has so timely decided on the remedies of the AfD. We will now implement this judgment in the further preparation of the election.

The Federal Constitutional Court had previously dismissed a complaint of the AfD in this matter because of various substantive defects. The application is not justified by the legal requirements, according to the decision of 18 July published on Wednesday. Above all, however, the Karlsruhe judges complained that the AfD had not sufficiently presented why they had already switched to the highest German court before a decision in Saxony. As a rule, countries are responsible for ensuring the right to vote.

The AFD described the removal of a majority of its candidates as arbitrary, “in order to decisively weaken the strongest competitor to the state election 2019”. In the case of a good result in the election she might not be able to take over all mandates with a shortened list. The party did not see any errors in its deployment process. However, there was also criticism in their own ranks for not having prepared enough for the list. The party needed two dates in February and March. Even at the state election in 2014 there were problems with the list. (Dpa)