The Saxony election committee has refused to allow two-thirds of the candidates of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) to run in this year’s regional election, citing technical discrepancies.
Only two months before the region of Saxony goes to the polls, the region’s election committee has decided that the populist AfD will only be allowed to run 18 of their 61 candidates in what is seen as a massive blow to the party, which is tied for first place in the region in many polls, Tagesspiegel reports.
The committee highlighted the fact that AfD held party congresses on two separate occasions to pick their list of candidates, using two separate election methods.
This, according to the committee, meant that only the first party congress, which saw 18 candidates selected, was actually valid.
Sonntagsfrage zur Landtagswahl in Sachsen (#ltwsn) • Infratest dimap / MDR: CDU 26 % | AfD 26 % | DIE LINKE 15 % | GRÜNE 12 % | SPD 9 % | FDP 5 % | FREIE WÄHLER 3 % | Sonstige 4 %
➤ https://t.co/OgclmCNxeP #sltw19 pic.twitter.com/KoQONKz03j
— Wahlrecht.de (@Wahlrecht_de) July 2, 2019
The ruling is a massive blow to the party which was expected to gain as many as 30 seats in the 120-seat chamber, bringing into question whether the party will be able to fill the seats.
The only way the party will be able to mitigate the effect of the ruling will be to win direct mandates which are secured seats. Polling websites claim the party could potentially win between 27 and 30 direct mandates but could still be left with vacant seats.
State chairman of the AfD in Saxony, Jörg Urban labelled the move a “conspiracy” by the establishment saying the other parties were attempting to “weaken the strongest political competitor in the regional elections in Saxony.”
The Saxony branch of the AfD say they will appeal the committee decision but such an appeal will only be allowed to take place after the election.
While the AfD has seen election gains election after election and sits in the German parliament as the official opposition, sections of the party were put under domestic surveillance earlier this year.
It was even alleged that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) had used information gathered by the far-left extremist Antifa group to build their case for spying on members of the party.
AfD branches and members have also been targetted by far-left extremists several times this year, including the firebombing of a party office in Döbeln and the alleged attempted assassination of Bremen party chair Frank Magnitz.