Federal Constitutional Court: Urgent application by the AfD parliamentary group to chair the committee unsuccessful

DThe AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag must continue to do without the chair in three committees for the time being. In summary proceedings, the Federal Constitutional Court refused to provisionally appoint the AfD candidates who had not been elected by the other MPs. The final decision on the main issue is still pending. The judges in Karlsruhe announced on Thursday that it was “not completely impossible from the outset” that the rights of the AfD parliamentary group had been violated. (Az. 2 BvE 10/21)

The committees are renamed and appointed in each election period. “The committee chairmen have an important position,” says the Bundestag website. They prepare, convene and chair the meetings. Which parliamentary group chairs which committee is negotiated in the Council of Elders. If there is no agreement – as after the election in September – an access order is calculated from the strength of the groups. The parliamentary groups can choose their committees in turn according to this order of precedence.

Unique event in the history of the Bundestag

The interior and health committees as well as the committee for development cooperation fell to the AfD. Usually, the parliamentary groups then simply nominate the chairperson for their respective committees – an election is only held in the event of an objection. The other MPs failed the AfD candidates in all three committees on December 15. A second attempt on January 12 ended with the same result. The AfD speaks of a breach of decades of practice and has complained.

There had already been a dispute in the previous election period. At that time, the AfD MP Stephan Brandner had initially received the necessary majority in a secret ballot to take over the chairmanship of the legal committee. In November 2019, however, he was recalled – a unique event in the history of the Bundestag. The reason for this were several scandals that Brandner had triggered.

There is also still a process going on in Karlsruhe. In May 2020, the judges rejected an urgent request from the parliamentary group for Brandner’s reinstatement – on the grounds, among other things, that the AfD could reduce its impairment by naming another candidate itself. At the time, however, you also referred to the principle of equal treatment of the parliamentary groups. An effective opposition should not depend on the goodwill of the majority.

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