Maximilian Krah no longer allowed to campaign after a controversial SS statement

Maximilian Krah

This article was last updated on May 22, 2024

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EU party leader AfD is no longer allowed to campaign after a controversial SS statement

With just over two weeks to go until the European elections, European party leader Maximilian Krah of the right-wing radical German party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is no longer allowed to campaign. He has also been expelled from the national board of the AfD.

The party’s decision follows statements by Krah in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica last weekend. In it he said that “not every SS man was automatically a criminal” and that there were “also many peasants among the SS men”. Krah will remain party leader for the AfD in the coming elections.

Cooperation has been shaky for some time

Krah’s statements in the newspaper were the last straw for Marine Le Pen’s French party Rassemblement National (RN). She decided to break off cooperation with the AfD within the radical right Identity and Democracy faction in the European Parliament.

In France, comparing SS men has been interpreted as trivializing the Nazi era. Le Pen has wanted to get rid of the AfD for some time because she considers the party too radical. The Danish People’s Party, also a member of the European radical right faction, also thought the ruling went too far. The AfD has not yet been expelled from the faction.

EU correspondent Kysia Hekster:

“With just over two weeks to go until the European Parliament elections, the first cracks are appearing within the radical right European party Identity and Democracy.

The immediate reason is the interview with AfD party leader Krah. But the split has been in the air for some time. The French party is trying to distance itself from its German sister party because they are trying to appear moderate in France. Krah’s extreme statements therefore bother them too much during the election campaign.

In the polls, gains are expected for the radical right parties in many countries, and thus also for the number of seats in the European Parliament that Identity and Democracy will obtain. The PVV is also affiliated with this European faction. After the elections, all national parties will reconsider which European faction they will join.

“We will only know after June 9 whether the French RN will actually leave the radical right group and join another European party, or whether they will demand that the Germans be expelled from the group.”

The first cracks within the German radical right faction became visible in November after a secret AfD meeting in Potsdam about ‘remigration’. Afterwards, the French right-wing populist Le Pen distanced himself from the AfD and threatened to end the cooperation. A visit by AfD leader Alice Weidel to Paris at the end of February could no longer reassure French right-wing populists.

Krah has been under controversy for some time

The MEP Krah has previously been discredited. At the beginning of May, Krah’s Brussels office was investigated on suspicion of espionage. This happened at the request of the German authorities. In April, a Krah employee was arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

Germany correspondent Charlotte Waaijers:

“Krah has been very controversial for some time. But while the AfD initially hoped that his striking performance could help the party, concerns that his statements mainly cause more damage have grown considerably. That his departure could not wait until the end of next month, when there the fact that a new board is elected anyway underlines this. And so the European department is now in fact without a top, because number 2 has also been resigned due to bribery suspicions.

Krah is now no longer allowed to represent the party at meetings, but that does not mean that the matter for the AfD is over. Investigation into possible bribery is still ongoing and he is still the party leader. This means that he will almost certainly enter parliament after the elections. The position of the French raises the question to what extent this will complicate cooperation with other parties.”

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