The German far right expels an SS apologist from the European Parliament club
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The German far right expels an SS apologist from the European Parliament club

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The far-right Alternative for Germany expelled its main candidate in the European Parliament elections from its delegation to the European Parliament, as an olive branch to former allies in the assembly.

Maksymilian Krah caused outrage in Europe with a joint interview for the Financial Times and La Repubblica, in which he stated that not everyone who served in Adolf Hitler’s SS was a criminal.

After the interviews were published, the far-right group Identity and Democracy in the European Parliament, dominated by Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, decided to expel the AfD, leaving it in the political wilderness. The quarrel did not prevent the AfD from coming second in Sunday’s elections and achieving its best-ever result in the nationwide vote.

“The exclusion of Krah was an attempt to send a message to Le Pen,” said an AfD source familiar with the matter. “It was clear to everyone that he was toxic.”

There is hope that Le Pen will now allow the AfD to be readmitted to the ID group, although the source admits that “it would not be an easy undertaking.”

The move against Krah took place on Monday morning during the inaugural meeting of the AfD delegation to the European Parliament. The newly elected MEPs approved the motion not to accept Kraha into their ranks.

Krah told reporters that eight members of the European Parliament voted in favor of the proposal, four voted against and three abstained. This move means that the future AfD delegation will consist of 14, not 15, MPs.

The politician confirmed that this is related to possible talks between AfD and RN on the creation of a joint grouping in the new parliament.

“You simply cannot rely on him – he is a loose cannon,” said one AfD MP. “We need professional, disciplined politicians and he is not it.”

The MP said Krah fell out with several European partners during the 2019-2024 parliament, including Le Pen, and was excluded from the ID twice.

Krah said his exclusion from the AfD group was a strategic mistake. “Today is just a snapshot. “Let’s wait and see what the East German branches of the party have to say, let’s see what the citizens have to say about it,” he said.

He added that this would not affect his future role compared to that of other AfD MEPs. “In parliamentary terms, we are all equal,” he told reporters. “There is no difference. In hell, everyone is the same.”

Krah, who has gained a huge following on TikTok, said he was largely responsible for the AfD’s huge success among young voters: polls show that 17 percent of 16-24-year-olds chose the party in Sunday’s European Parliament elections.

However, he has long been dogged by negative headlines regarding his alleged ties to pro-Russian networks and China. One of his employees in the European Parliament was arrested in April on charges of spying for Beijing.

A party official said the AfD wanted to remove him from its list of candidates before the election, but it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. They said polls conducted on Election Day showed that Krah’s various scandals had cost the party support.

Ultimately, AfD took second place in the elections with 15.9 percent, defeating all three parties in Olaf Scholz’s coalition. However, polls taken late last year put the figure at 22-23 percent. “We lost five seats because of him,” said a party representative.

Although the AfD excluded Krah from its ranks in the European Parliament, it retained Petr Bystron, another controversial MP who was second on its list of candidates for Europe.

Bystron is under investigation by German police and prosecutors on suspicion of money laundering and corruption. He is suspected of receiving money from the Kremlin for disseminating Russian propaganda.

However, although he remains in the delegation, Bystron was passed over as its chairman in favor of Rene Aust, a member of the national parliament for the eastern region of Thuringia, who is seen as a rising star of the AfD.

Additional reporting by Andy Bounds in Brussels