The coalition and opposition want to work together. That’s good news. Ampel and Union haven’t given each other too much recently. The relationships also suffer because Olaf Scholz and Friedrich Merz cannot stand each other beyond the normal competitive relationship, which may be because they are so similar, at least in their unwavering self-confidence.

So now the factions are still looking for cooperation. The aim is to better protect the Federal Constitutional Court by changing the Basic Law in the event that the AfD is even more strongly represented in the next Bundestag and is in a position to influence the election of judges and the work in Karlsruhe in general. With a third of the seats in parliament, the AfD, perhaps in conjunction with other populist parties, could block the election of the highest judges, half of whom are elected in the Bundestag with a two-thirds majority (the other half are elected by the Bundesrat). And if the right-wing extremists one day even form the majority in a coalition with another faction, they could also change important rules for the Constitutional Court because they are not yet in the Basic Law. Such attempts to curtail independent jurisprudence are known from other European countries such as Poland.

Constitutional lawyers, former judges and many politicians recommend improving the protection of the Constitutional Court. I understand the request, but it also takes my breath away. Because the possibility of a change in the Basic Law should not distract us from making clear to us the situation that we are seriously talking about here: in 2021, the AfD received 83 of the 736 mandates in the Bundestag, i.e. around eleven percent. A third of the seats would mean a tripling. I’m sorry, what? Every third vote in the federal government for the AfD? What kind of Germany would that be?

The prospect of a majority involving the AfD is just as frightening. That would mean that the firewall didn’t hold up, wherever and with whomever. Honestly, then the Federal Constitutional Court would be just one of many problems, because the AfD would probably be in the government – and the majority in the Bundestag could change completely different laws than just the rules for Karlsruhe. Regardless of whether it is a blockade variant or a majority variant: the coalition and the Union are talking about a country that no longer has anything to do with the one we know.

Such an increase in power for right-wing populism would inevitably be due to the political failure of the established parties. It would be even better than preparing for all eventualities to prevent an emergency as far as possible. Ampel and Union could make a small contribution by injecting a little discipline and restraint into the discussions about a change to the Basic Law for the highest court. But no, of course, here too, discussions were broken off in public, documents were leaked to the media and blame was distributed. Everything as always.

In this way, those involved are helping to increase the frustration with politics, which could create the conditions for which clever rules are now being sought. But in doing so, they also encourage those from whom they want to protect the court in their belief that they can really achieve the unimaginable.