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AfD wins right to expand candidate list

July 26, 2019

The far-right party was forced to reduce its number of candidates for an upcoming regional election in eastern Germany. A state constitutional court said part of that decision was "highly likely illegal."

Image: Getty Images/R. Hartmann

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has won a partial legal victory after a constitutional court in Saxony overruled the state's decision to limit the party's number of candidates.

The state's electoral commission reduced the candidate list from 61 to 18 for state elections in September because the party only elected the first 18 candidates at the same party convention.

Read more: Germany's conservatives divided on how to cope with far-right AfD

The commission also rejected the candidates ranked 31 to 61 because they were elected using different voting procedures to the candidates from the top half of the list.

The constitutional court said the decision to reject the candidates ranked 19 to 30 was "highly likely illegal," but it agreed with the commission's reasoning for blocking the bottom half of the list.

The judges said barring any of the first 30 candidates could trigger a re-run of the election if the alleged discrepancies proved to be false.

Read more: How artists in eastern Germany fight the rise of the far-right

Polling strong in Saxony

The head of the AfD in the eastern state said the ruling "eliminated the great risk that after the election we would have had a state parliament that did not reflect the will of Saxony's voters."

The far-right party is polling neck and neck with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in the eastern state, at around 24% to 26%.

The prior restriction on the candidate list could have resulted in the party failing to fill all of its newly won seats in the state assembly. Based on current polls, the party might hope to win in the region of 30 seats in the parliament.

The head of the region's center-left Social Democrats (SPD), Henning Homann, said "the court has made an important decision because it protects democracy in Saxony."

His party later issued a statement saying it was "not satisfied" with the decision.

The constitutional court is expected to issue a final verdict in the case on August 16.

amp/msh (AFP, dpa)

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