Members of AfD party
Members of AfD party Reuters

A court ruled on Tuesday that Germany's domestic intelligence agency can designate the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as a suspected case of extremism, rejecting a suit filed by the party.

According to The Associated Press, the administrative court in Cologne delivered its ruling in a long-running dispute between AfD, five months after a national election in which the party secured a reduced but still solid 10.3% of the vote.

The court found that there were sufficient indications of anti-constitutional aspirations inside the party, news agency dpa reported. Judges found that AfD's hard-right faction, known as The Wing, has officially been dissolved but prominent figures continue to exert significant influence.

AfD, which was formed in 2013, 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.”