Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been permitted to continue its surveillance of the country's Left party. A Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has turned down a lawsuit brought by party member Bodo Ramelow.
The court said the far-left party contained elements with unconstitutional intentions which in turn justified a surveillance of the party as well as of its members.
Ramelow expressed "deep disappointment" after the verdict but vowed to appeal the ruling and take his case to the constitutional court.
Surveillance of the Left party has been controversial for years. Its partial roots in the former East German Communist Party have led to concern over extremist tendencies amongst its rank and file.
Democratically elected, with extremist tendencies
In the current annual report by the domestic intelligence service, there are a full seven pages dedicated to the party.
"There are still many indicators for left wing extremism in the party. Those are in particular the unclear stance towards left wing extremist violence and the open acceptance of extremist alliances among its own members," the report says.
The extremist alliances referred to are for instance the "Communist Platform" or the "Marxist Forum" within the party.
Yet the Left party has been elected into many city and state parliaments - it's even in a number of regional coalitions with bigger parties. And it's an established - though small - party in the national parliament, the Bundestag.
Author: Andreas Illmer
Editor: Susan Houlton