OSCE delays decision on monitoring German election

Alternative for Germany (AfD) party leaders (L-R) Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen answer questions during a press conference in the wake of the Berlin House of Representatives elections, in Berlin, in September 2016. [Wolfgang Kumm/ EPA]

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will decide in July at the earliest if it will monitor Germany’s September elections, after the current government and the far-right AfD asked it to be involved. EURACTIV Germany reports.

German media has reported that the OSCE will only take a decision in July on whether to monitor Germany’s end-of-year federal elections. Far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) had called on the organisation to be involved.

OSCE experts will speak with “representatives from the government, press, civil society and political parties (including the AfD)”, explained the organisation’s Director for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Michael Georg Link.

Germany's AfD picks election drive leaders, shift to right

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Sunday (23 April) chose a tough-talking former member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and an economist to lead its campaign for a September election in a line-up likely to drag the group further right.

AfD leaders Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen invited the OSCE to monitor the vote, claiming there is “reason to worry that we will not be guaranteed unrestricted participation in the election campaign in a fair way”.

The far-right party also insisted that civil society groups had tried to sabotage its campaigns in the past.

In a letter dated 28 April, the AfD said its posters had been defaced, supporters put off attending events due to protests, hotels threatened for renting rooms to the party, and activists attacked, all “severe constraints” on its campaigning.

Merkel's party triumphs in northern Germany vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) secured a strong win yesterday (7 May) in state polls in northern Germany, giving a boost to her bid to retain power in national elections in September.

Link revealed that the Federal Government itself had already invited the OSCE on 6 March to keep an eye on the vote and that a decision can only be made once its experts have released their report on conditions. The OSCE monitored Germany’s last federal election in 2013.

The anti-immigrant party polls at between 7 and 10%, comfortably above the 5% threshold needed to enter parliament. But many Germans despise it and some 15,000 people protested outside its party congress in April.

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