BGH comments on rejected AfD committee chairmen

Alice Weidel

AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel during a speech in the Bundestag. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Actually, the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag is entitled to chair three committees. But the other parties voted against their candidates. What does the Federal Constitutional Court say about this?

As the only party in the Bundestag, the AfD does not chair any committee – the others do not want to support their candidates.

The parliamentary group speaks of a breach of decades of practice and is therefore suing Karlsruhe. The Federal Constitutional Court has now made an initial decision in an urgent procedure. The decision will be published in writing today.

The committees are renamed and appointed in each election period. “The committee chairmen have an important position,” says the website of the Bundestag. 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.

AfD wants to demand “equal participation”.

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. At the same time, the other deputies on December 15 in all three committees let the AfD candidates fail.

The AfD claims that in this way it is denied equal participation. With the urgent application, the parliamentary group wants to ensure that the parliamentarians it has nominated are temporarily appointed as committee chairmen until their complaint in Karlsruhe has been finally examined. This is directed against the Bundestag, its Presidium and the committees concerned.

Another AfD procedure in Karlsruhe

There had already been a dispute in the previous election period. At that time, the AfD MP Stephen Brander initially received the necessary majority in a secret ballot to take over the chairmanship of the Legal Affairs 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.