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Farewell AfD: France’s right-wingers are ending cooperation in the European Parliament

Farewell AfD: France’s right-wingers are ending cooperation in the European Parliament

After a series of scandals, the AfD is now being rejected by its own camp: France’s right-wing populists no longer want to have anything to do with the party in Brussels.

France’s right-wing populists now consider the AfD to be too radical and are therefore terminating their cooperation in the European Parliament. The head of the Rassemblement National (National Rally Movement, RN) party and top candidate for the European elections, Jordan Bardella, has “made the decision” to no longer “sit” with the AfD in parliament, campaign manager Alexandre Loubet told the AFP news agency on Tuesday. The reason is statements about the SS from the ranks of the AfD.

The AfD’s leading candidate for the European elections, Maximilian Krah, told the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” at the weekend that not every SS man was a criminal. In France, the statements were understood as a trivialization of the Nazi era.

Break between France’s RN and AfD two weeks before European elections

So far, the AfD and Rassemblement National have belonged to the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) faction in the European Parliament. However, massive rifts have become clear since November at the latest: after the Potsdam secret meeting on “remigration”, the French right-wing populist Marine Le Pen clearly distanced herself from the AfD on behalf of her RN and threatened to end their cooperation.

Even a visit by AfD leader Alice Weidel to Paris at the end of February did not appease the French right-wing populists. Campaign manager Loubet now said with regard to the AfD: “We had open discussions, but nothing was learned from them. Now we are drawing the consequences.”

Le Pen has been courting conservative voters for years and has committed her party, the former Front National, to a course of “de-devilization.” The now 55-year-old even fell out with her father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, whom she expelled from the party because of his stubborn Holocaust denial. Bardella, who is only 28 years old, is considered Marine Le Pen’s “crown prince” and has been at the top of the RN since the end of 2022.

AfD approval ratings are falling after recent investigations

The break with the AfD comes a good two weeks before the European elections, which will take place in Germany on June 9. Opinion pollsters expect a shift to the right, as ultra-right parties are in the lead in France, Italy and Austria.

The AfD was also initially predicted to make significant gains in the European elections. Recently, however, the approval ratings fell again. The reasons given are the mass demonstrations against the right after the Potsdam secret meeting. There are also investigations into AfD top man Krah and second-placed Petr Bystron for allegedly accepting money from Russia. Both deny the allegations.

It remains to be seen what will happen next in the far-right camp in the European Parliament. Le Pen had repeatedly appeared at the side of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who heads the ultra-right Fratelli d’Italia (FdI). Meloni’s party belongs to the European Conservatives and Reformers (ECR) group in the European Parliament. The right-wing extremist Spanish party Vox and the national-conservative PiS party from Poland are also based there.

Source: Stern

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