Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has put the opposition Alternative for Germany (AfD) party under observation on suspicion of extreme far-right sympathies, according to local media.
The action by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) comes more than two years after it announced it was examining public comments by party members and links to extremist groups more closely.
In January 2019, the agency put the youth wing of AfD as well as the party faction linked to a prominent leader in eastern Germany, Bjoern Hoecke, under covert surveillance over extremism allegations.
At the time, the BfV cited the youth organisation’s stated goal of creating an ethnically pure country and efforts by Hoecke’s faction – known as “The Wing” – to downplay Germany’s Nazi history.
The Wing has also suggested it might pursue “revolutionary” means to achieve its political aims, warranting scrutiny from the BfV, which is tasked with monitoring all extremist organisations in the country.
The BfV has refused to comment on Wednesday’s German media reports.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the agency, said it could neither confirm nor deny them, but was preparing a statement for later in the day.
AfD co-chairman Tino Chrupalla accused the BfV of leaking the information to the media in an attempt to influence opinion about the party.
“The behaviour of the BfV is scandalous,” he told the German press agency, dpa.