With more than 1.6 million signatures, people are calling for the deprivation of some basic rights for Björn Höcke. That would have far-reaching consequences for the Thuringian AfD chairman.
Around 1.67 million signatures for the withdrawal of some basic rights from Thuringia’s AfD leader Björn Höcke have been presented to members of some parliamentary groups in the Bundestag. Indra Ghosh, who started an online petition on the platform of the campaign network Campact, handed over the collected signatures and demands of the “Stop Höcke” campaign to Green Party parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann in Berlin.
“Above all, I am pleased that something is moving in the country,” said Haßelmann at the handover on Thursday. It is an “incredibly encouraging signal” that civil society senses the dangers posed by right-wing extremism and knows that it now depends on each and every individual.
Increase in participants after the Potsdam meeting became known
According to the organizers, with more than 1,675,000 signatures collected, it is the largest online petition in Germany. The signature collection started two months ago on the platform of the campaign network Campact. The campaign received a boost after the Potsdam meeting of radical right-wing activists and extremists with some AfD officials became known.
The petition calls on the federal government and the Bundestag to submit an application for the forfeiture of fundamental rights in accordance with Article 18 of the Basic Law for the party and parliamentary group leader of the Thuringian AfD, which the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has classified as right-wing extremist. The possibility of deprivation of fundamental rights is regulated in this article. Accordingly, fundamental rights can be forfeited if rights such as freedom of expression are “abused to fight against the free democratic basic order”.
However, a corresponding application can only be made by the Bundestag, the federal government or a state government. The decision on the forfeiture and its extent is made by the Federal Constitutional Court. In preliminary proceedings, the court checks whether the application is admissible and sufficiently justified. If the answer is yes, an oral hearing will be prepared through preliminary investigations and the preservation of evidence.
Democracy in danger
Höcke represents “a serious threat to democracy, which is why his right to stand for election must be revoked,” demand the organizers. “It is time for politicians to act,” said Ghosh. The issue must be on the political agenda.
A new state parliament will be elected in Thuringia on September 1st. In surveys, Höcke’s AfD is currently clearly in the lead. If Höcke loses his basic rights under Article 18, he could not only be denied his own right to vote for the time being, but also be denied the right to stand in the Thuringian election.
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