Germany: Extremist group in the AfD party says it is dissolving
Germany's public broadcast television channel ARD has reported that the extreme-right group calling itself "The Wing" (Der Flügel), which has been working as part of Germany's strongest opposition party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has decided to dissolve in response to pressure from the party leadership after finding itself under scrutiny by counter-intelligence. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), as the German counter-intelligence service is called, informed the public last Thursday that it had decided to officially follow "The Wing".
The decision was justified by the fact that the informal group, which has an estimated 7 000 adherents, is an ultra-right entity and its main representatives, the heads of the AfD in the states of Thuringia (Björn Höcke) and Braniburg (Andreas Kalbitz) are right-wing extremists. The step taken by the counter-intelligence service facilitates the deployment of all the resources used by the intelligence services and has confirmed the position of those experts and politicians who have been warning of the AfD's increasing radicalization.
Inside the party, which considers the counter-intelligence service decision to be politically motivated, the move has prompted concerns that it could lead to their losing votes. Party leaders have been looking for a way to take a stand on the matter.
One option was for AfD to thoroughly distance itself from Höcke and Kalbitz, and it was said that the latter might be excluded from the party. Eventually the AfD leadership made the following decision on Friday: "The presidium anticipates that the outcome of tomorrow's (Saturday's) meeting of The Wing will be a declaration that the informal group called The Wing will dissolve itself by 30 April 2020."
ARD has reported that both Höcke and Kalbitz have acquiesced to that decision and say they will dissolve The Wing. The agreement was reached late Friday evening.
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