The AfD is in court again – yes, what? Failed? The Federal Constitutional Court has rejected an urgent application by her parliamentary group to appoint the chair of three parliamentary committees. There were elections in the committees last December. The respective majority had failed the candidates of the igitt party for these posts in the interior, health and development committees.
What looks like a democratic process is actually a parliamentary border crossing. A significant part of Parliament’s work is carried out in the committees. It’s the chairperson’s job to organize things well. Precisely because it is a job, they are not usually elected, but rather an agreement is reached in the council of elders. That’s what the rules of procedure say, that’s how it is. The principle is called proportional representation. With 25 standing committees, there would also be something for the AfD. Parliamentary groups, according to the Basic Law, should be appropriately involved in parliamentary work.
The Federal Constitutional Court has not yet pronounced a final verdict. It rejected the urgent application because the presidency question is less drastic than the AfD would like you to believe. At the same time, the judges make it clear that, once again, there is something to their lawsuit.
Irrespective of the outcome of the proceedings, the parties and their parliamentary groups, which they say are democratic, could take this as an opportunity to take a critical look at their breach of the rules at the time – because that was what it was, even if it was perhaps not a breach of the constitution. Was that necessary where committee heads have neither influence nor special representational tasks? Ultimately, it was symbolic action to make the political space as narrow as possible for the right, including the parliamentary space.
Defenders of this strategy will be able to point to the current decline of the AfD, which is likely to have more to do with its Russia policy and the relative absence of dark-skinned refugees than with adjusting screws in the engine room of democracy. It’s okay to dissect the party from Twitter to talk shows on all sorts of political battlefields. It is also appropriate to place them under the surveillance of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, insofar as the rule of law rules are strictly observed. However, parliamentary participation is a sensitive area that should not be turned into a battleground lightly. Preventing elected officials from being represented makes a bad impression. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal.