A German court has ruled that domestic security services can continue to treat the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) as a potentially “extremist” party.

The ruling, delivered on Monday, means that intelligence services retain the right to keep the party under surveillance. The AfD, which is running second in polls and hopes to secure a significant number of seats in upcoming regional and European Union elections, has said it will appeal.

“The court finds there is sufficient evidence that the AfD pursues goals that run against the human dignity of certain groups and against democracy,” Judges at the higher administrative court in Muenster said.

“There are grounds to suspect at least part of the party wants to accord second-rank status to German citizens with a migration background.”