Germany’s far-right AfD has been put under surveillance by the country’s domestic intelligence agency over suspicious of extreme political sympathies, according to local media.
The move to investigate the party, whose initials stand for Alternative for Germany, comes six months before a federal election in September.
AfD is currently the largest opposition party in the national parliament.
The intelligence agency, known as the BfV, declined to comment on the reports in multiple German media outlets, including the broadcaster ARD and Der Spiegel magazine.
AfD co-chairman Tino Chrupalla said the agency was making a “scandalous” attempt to influence public opinion.
The party’s co-leaders Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel added it was “no coincidence that this information was was leaked to the press in the year of a federal election and only a few days before two important state elections.
“A targeted attempt is being made here to reduce the AfD’s chances with the help of the domestic intelligence agency.”
Elections are due to be held on March 14 in states including Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.
AfD’s popularity has soared in recent years as it campaigned largely on an anti-immigration and anti-Islam platform.
Some AfD members have also been accused of making antisemitic remarks.
In August 2019 the party expelled its regional leader in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein after she was accused of supporting a group founded by a convicted Holocaust denier.
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