European Far-Right Moves to Expel German Party After ‘Nazi’ Row

(Bloomberg) -- The Identity and Democracy alliance, a pan-European group of far-right parties, has moved to expel Alternative for Germany, according to the DPA news agency, in a move that will add to the German party’s troubles.

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On Wednesday, Maximilian Krah, the AfD’s lead candidate in next month’s European Parliament elections, quit the party’s leadership committee and said he wouldn’t take part in any more campaign events following a string of scandals. Last week, he told an Italian newspaper that not all members of the Nazi SS paramilitary organization were criminals.

French far-right politician Marine Le Pen, whose National Rally is also in ID, said her party would sever ties with AfD.

The move comes at an awkward moment for Europe’s far right, as they’re poised to make electoral gains in the June 6-9 European elections. Fragmentation among the many hard-right groups makes it less likely they’ll emerge from the ballot with enough leverage to further a cohesive conservative agenda.

“This is real damage in the final stages of the election campaign,” Daniel Tapp, a spokesperson for AfD leader Alice Weidel, said in a statement. “We remain confident that we will be able to continue working in a joint parliamentary group with our current partners after the European elections in Brussels.”

A message left with an ID spokesperson wasn’t immediately returned.

Krah was already under pressure after his assistant in Brussels was detained last month under suspicion of spying for China.

--With assistance from Lyubov Pronina.

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