Members of AfD party
Members of AfD partyReuters

A court in Germany said on Thursday that it won’t decide before the country’s national election in September whether the domestic intelligence agency can put the far-right Alternative for Germany party under observation due to suspicions of extreme-right sympathies, The Associated Press reported.

The Cologne administrative court said it also won’t rule before the September 26 election on the party’s bid to prevent the intelligence agency from publicly specifying how many people belong to its officially dissolved hard-right faction, known as The Wing.

The court said it originally planned to rule in early July but the complexity of the case and other factors got in the way. Therefore, out of “respect for voters’ decision,” it now plans to rule in the first quarter of 2022, according to AP.

Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered Germany’s national parliament with 12.6% of the vote in 2017 and is currently the biggest of several opposition parties.

The party has a history of controversial statements, particularly surrounding the Holocaust. Party member Bjoern Hoecke caused a firestorm in February of 2017 when he suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

AfD chairman Alexander Gauland in 2018 described the Nazi period as a mere "speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history".

He had previously asserted, however, that Jews should not fear the strong election showing by AfD and indicated that he was ready to meet with German Jewish leaders “at any time.”

AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen welcomed the court’s new timetable, arguing that an “unjustified observation” by the intelligence agency would become public and “massively damage AfD, particularly in the election campaign.”