The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has refused to temporarily appoint several candidates named by the AfD as committee chairmen in the Bundestag in response to an urgent application from the AfD parliamentary group. The question had to be clarified in the main proceedings, the court said on Thursday. The group must now wait until this final decision is made. (Az. 2 BvE 10/21)

The chairmen of the Bundestag committees prepare and chair the meetings. If the parliamentary groups cannot agree on the distribution of posts after a Bundestag election, they can take turns in order of size. At the end of 2021, the AfD initially chaired the interior, health and development committees.

Usually it stays with the distribution. This time, however, the three AfD candidates failed in an election requested by the government factions in the committees, which are currently headed by the deputy chairmen. The AfD parliamentary group is the only one that does not provide committee chairs.

In December, she filed a lawsuit against such presidential elections in Karlsruhe. She feels that her rights to equal treatment and to the fair and loyal application of the Bundestag’s rules of procedure, as well as her right to effective opposition, have been violated. Until the verdict, she wanted the court to settle the matter provisionally and have her candidates designated as chairpersons. However, the judges of the Second Senate have now rejected this.

They stated that they did not consider a violation of the law to be completely ruled out from the outset. However, the weighing up of the consequences of an interim order led to it being rejected: If the election actually turned out to be unconstitutional, the AfD parliamentary group could still work in the committees until the final decision was made, even without having a functional office.

On the other hand, if the election were constitutional, the consequences of an interim appointment would be more serious: Then the committees would be led by people who did not have the trust of the majority until the decision was made, the court explained. That could jeopardize their ability to work and thus the functioning of the Bundestag as a whole. A temporary injunction is not urgently required.

In the main proceedings, the Second Senate now wants to clarify whether the parliamentary rules of procedure “allow free election of the committee chairs, whether this could impair the legal positions” of the AfD parliamentary group and “whether such a thing would be permissible with regard to the purpose of the election”. , as stated in the decision.

The AfD parliamentary group’s legal adviser, Stephan Brandner, spoke of a “bad day for parliamentary democracy” after the decision was published. The parliamentary group is “denied fair participation in parliamentary work”.