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Germany’s AfD party expelled from European Parliament group

In World
May 23, 2024

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has been expelled from the Identity and Democracy (ID) group in the European Parliament, in a further blow to the German party.

ID “no longer wants to be associated with the incidents” involving Maximilian Krah, head of the AfD list for the European parliament elections in Germany in June, a group statement said on Thursday.

Marco Zanni, the leader of the ID group, made a request to expel the nine AfD members after negative headlines about the party in recent weeks, particularly Krah.

The move comes after a “string of incidents involving Mr Maximilian Krah and – by extension – the German delegation of the Group” and their impact on the group’s reputation, the text of the motion to expel the AfD read.

In a vote on Thursday afternoon, the Italian League, led by Zanni, the French National Rally, Flemish Vlaams Belang, the Danish People’s Party and the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy party voted in favour of expelling the AfD, according to information obtained by dpa.

The Freedom Party of Austria and the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia voted against.

Krah came under significant public scrutiny following his comments that not all Schutzstaffel (SS) members were criminals. The SS was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

In response, the AfD banned Krah from making public appearances.

Another AfD candidate, Petr Bystron, will also no longer appear due to investigations by the public prosecutor’s office into alleged corruption.

Both Krah and Bystron have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks for alleged links to pro-Russian networks.

In addition, German police last month arrested Krah’s assistant at the time, Jian Guo, on suspicion of espionage. Krah fired him following the allegations that the aide was spying for China.

The exclusion of AfD members of the EU legislature is primarily symbolic, as the parliament will not meet again until after the European elections in June. The political groups may then possibly be reformed.

Le Pen’s National Rally had previously terminated its cooperation with the AfD after plans to deport migrants on a large scale were discussed at a secret meeting attended by members of the AfD and well-known radical right-wingers last November near Berlin.

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