FFor the AfD, the day began with an unmistakable defeat. As “obviously inadmissible”, the Federal Constitutional Court rejected an application for bias against the Second Senate. The reasoning, according to the court, was “completely unsuitable”.
The AfD had complained that a delegation from the court had met with members of the federal government at the end of June. From the party’s point of view, the fact that the meeting took place recently is the sole reason for concern about the bias. The federal government is ultimately the defendant in the proceedings that were heard this Wednesday.
Doris König, the vice-president of the court and chairman of the Second Senate, then clarified a few things. Meetings between the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Government take place regularly; they should enable a dialogue between the state organs. The timing of the most recent meeting could not in itself give rise to any doubts about the impartiality of the judges, said König. After all, the court is “permanently” involved in proceedings that affect the actions of the federal government or other supreme constitutional organs.
With their actual concern, the AfD in Karlsruhe could become more successful. The party is resisting a statement with which Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on Thomas Kemmerich’s election. The FDP politician was elected Prime Minister of Thuringia on February 5, 2020 by the CDU, FDP and AfD. The election triggered a political crisis in the state, the end of which is still not in sight. Federal politics was also in turmoil, the SPD demanded an immediate meeting of the coalition committee.
State organs must behave neutrally
In this situation, the Chancellor from South Africa spoke up. There she was a guest of President Cyril Ramaphosa. Before the actual press conference, she wanted to make a “preliminary remark” for “domestic political reasons”, said Merkel. Then these sentences followed: “The election of this Prime Minister was a unique process that broke with a basic conviction for the CDU and also for me that no majorities should be won with the help of the AfD. Since this was foreseeable in the constellation in which the third ballot was voted, it must be said that this process is unforgivable and that the result must therefore be reversed. At least for the CDU, the CDU is not allowed to participate in a government under the elected Prime Minister. It was a bad day for democracy. “
The statement was published both on the website of the Federal Chancellor and on the website of the Federal Government. Some saw it as a violation of the federal separation of powers; In addition, Merkel could not make any regulations for a CDU regional association – she had given up the party chairmanship two months earlier. The office was now held by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The AfD thinks Merkel has violated the duty of neutrality and violated the party’s equal opportunities. Christian Conrad, the legal representative, spoke of the “most serious interference” with the Basic Law. He expects a “trend-setting decision on democratic coexistence”.
State organs must behave neutrally in political competition. This duty has its roots in the principle of democracy. The Federal Constitutional Court has regularly emphasized the importance of equal opportunities, which is to be preserved in this way, most recently last summer. At that time, the AfD successfully fought against a statement by Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Elections and votes can only convey democratic legitimation if they are free, according to the judges. This not only requires free voting; Even their judgment should be able to form voters in a free and open process. It is therefore essential that parties participate equally in political competition. State organs that had far more resources at their disposal would have to behave neutrally. The same applies to individual members of the government.