Only two months ahead of the vote, the region’s election committee banned most of the AfD candidates. Only 18 of their 61 candidates currently tied for first place in the region in many polls, will be able to run, Tagesspiegel reported.
The decision has thus been a massive blow to the party. The committee maintains that the AfD held two party congresses to pick their list of candidates. But the party says both events in Markneukirchen should be considered as one interrupted party congress.
According to the committee, only the first party congress in which 18 candidates were selected, would be accepted as valid. The Saxony branch of the AfD say they would appeal against the committee decision but such an appeal will only take place after the election.
The AfD had expected to gain as many as 30 seats in the 120-seat chamber. Pollsters believe the party may win between 27 and 30 direct mandates but the state’s parliament could still be left with vacant seats.
The committee was – not surprisingly – entirely staffed by the AfD’s direct competitors. nState chairman of the AfD in Saxony, Jörg Urban called the ban a “conspiracy” by the establishment. He sai opponents were attempting to “weaken the strongest political competitor in the regional elections in Saxony”.
After election gains, the AfD is represented in the German parliament as the official opposition. Despite this success at the polls, the party was put under domestic intelligence surveillance earlier this year.
AfD branches and members are meanwhile regulalry targeted by far-left extremists, including the firebombing of a party office in Döbeln and the assassination attempt of Bremen party chair Frank Magnitz.