As the Alternative for Germany splits in Baden-Württemberg over anti-Semitic remarks, the state's interior minister has demanded that secret services watch the party. Support for the AfD is at its lowest since January.
Baden-Württemberg's Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl (CDU) has called for the right-wing AfD to be put under surveillance by Germany's domestic intelligence authorities, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" reported on Sunday.
"The intelligence services must keep an eye on the AfD and individuals from that party," Strobl said.
"If reasons for observation are present, we must act," he added.
Strobl's demand follows a debate earlier this week surrounding anti-Semitic remarks made by AfD lawmaker Wolfgang Gedeon. In his earlier writings, Gedeon downplayed the Holocaust and described Judaism as a "domestic enemy" of "the Christian West," whereas Islam was depicted as an "external enemy."
As a result, the AfD in Baden-Württemberg split into two groups, with state parliamentary leader Jörg Meuthen announcing the creation of a new parliamentary group called "Alternative for Baden-Württemberg."
Investigations into right-wing and Islamophobic scene
According to Sunday's newspaper report, the German federal domestic security agency BfV and several state intelligence agencies have already checked "whether the party or tendencies should be observed." Individual members of the AfD are already under surveillance.
Statements and contacts of leading AfD politicians are currently at the center of an investigation to determine whether "the AfD wants to restrict or abolish the free democratic basic order in whole or in part," the newspaper said, quoting a statement from the Stuttgart intelligence service.
The head of the Bavarian intelligence service, Burkhard Körner, confirmed that AfD politicians in Bavaria were already under observation.
"The Bavarian State Intelligence Service can observe individuals in the AfD if they become conspicuous in other extremist areas. This is what we have found in some cases," Körner said, adding that they were connected to the "right-wing and Islamophobic scene."
Fall in support
The call from Strobl on Sunday came as new figures revealed that voter support for the AfD had fallen to its lowest level since January.
According to a weekly opinion poll conducted by Emnid for German newspaper "Bild," voter support now sits at 10 percent, marking a one-point decrease since last week.
Chancellor Merkel's conservative alliance, consisting of her CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, currently has 35 percent of the vote, while its junior coalition partner, the SPD, has stagnated at 23 percent. The Greens have 13 percent, the Left 9 percent, and the FDP 5 percent.
AfD deputy chief Beatrix von Storch also sparked outrage this week after commenting on Germany's 2-0 loss to France in the semifinal of the Euro 2016 football championship.
"Well, maybe next time the German NATIONAL TEAM should play again," von Storch tweeted late Thursday.
Other Twitter users responded with outrage to what they perceived to be a jab at football players with foreign roots. Germany's national selection boasts several footballers with immigrant parents, five of whom played against France on Thursday night.