Far-Right E.U. Lawmakers Remove Germany’s AfD Party Before Elections

A far-right group in the European Union’s Parliament announced on Thursday that it had ousted the Alternative for Germany party from its coalition, dealing a severe blow to a key alliance just two weeks before E.U. parliamentary elections.

In a statement on its official X account, the Identity and Democracy Group wrote that it had decided to exclude Alternative for Germany, or AfD, because of comments made by Maximilian Krah, the AfD’s lead candidate in the upcoming elections.

In an interview last week, Mr. Krah appeared to minimize the crimes carried out by the SS, the Nazi paramilitary force that killed millions of people during the Holocaust. “One million soldiers wore the SS uniform,” Mr. Krah said to La Repubblica and The Financial Times in a joint interview. “Can you really say that because someone was an officer in the Waffen-SS they were a criminal? You have to establish individual guilt.”

In its statement, Identity and Democracy wrote that it “no longer wants to be associated with the incidents involving Maximilian Krah, head of the AfD list for the European elections.”

The exclusion of AfD from the group, which includes the League party in Italy and the National Rally party in France, is a sign that domestic troubles for the AfD are starting to spill over into European Union politics.

The fact that Identity and Democracy moved to remove AfD before the elections suggests that other far-right parties in Europe feared the German delegation had become a liability. There are 27 member states that make up the European Union. About 400 million voters are eligible to elect 720 deputies to the European Parliament. Far-right parties are expected to win a record number of votes.

Jordan Bardella, the head of National Rally, reacted promptly to Mr. Krah’s comments, telling French TF1 that the AfD had “crossed red lines” and vowing that his party would “no longer sit alongside the AfD.”

Mr. Krah has been at the center of several recent scandals in Germany. After the party held an emergency meeting this week, Mr. Krah said he was leaving the AfD’s leadership committee. He will also stop campaigning.

“This represents a significant loss of power,” Hajo Funke, an analyst who focuses on right-wing extremism in Germany, said of AfD’s ouster. “Without a group, the AfD is even more isolated than it already is.”

Mr. Krah’s interview was the latest of several blows to the AfD. In January, hundreds of thousands of Germans took to the streets after an investigation revealed a secret meeting between AfD leaders and far-right extremists during which they discussed organizing mass deportations.

Last month, an assistant of Mr. Krah’s was arrested on suspicion of being an agent for the Chinese government. While Mr. Krah has not been charged, the authorities have searched his office, leading to speculation that he might also be investigated.

This month, the police searched the offices of Petr Bystron, the second AfD member on the E.U. ballot. Mr. Bystron is being investigated for receiving funds from Russia. Like Mr. Krah, Mr. Bystron has been pulled off the campaign trail.

Both men are expected to win their seats in the European Parliament next month, but their power will be much reduced unless they are able to cobble together their own coalition.

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