European elections: AfD: Krah withdraws from election campaign and board

European elections: AfD: Krah withdraws from election campaign and board

Maximilan Krah has been controversial as the AfD’s top candidate for weeks. Now he is resigning from the party leadership and no longer wants to appear. Just two weeks before the European elections.

A good two weeks before the European elections, the AfD is breaking with its top candidate Maximilian Krah. A party spokesman said the federal executive board had banned Krah from appearing, confirming a report in the “Bild” newspaper. Krah himself stated on Platform The background is Krah’s controversial statements about the SS and a dispute that broke out with the French right-wing party Rassemblement National. But Krah has been under pressure for weeks.

It is unclear what will happen next with the AfD’s European election campaign. The election in Germany is on June 9th. According to the wishes of the party leadership, number two on the European list, Petr Bystron, will no longer appear due to public prosecutor’s investigations. Both candidates have been in the headlines for weeks because of possible connections to pro-Russian networks. According to media reports, public prosecutors are examining possible monetary payments to both politicians. In addition, one of Krah’s employees was arrested for suspected spying for China.

CSU General Secretary Martin Huber called on the AfD to persuade Krah to give up his seat in the European Parliament. “It is not enough that Krah is hidden during the election campaign. He would have to resign from all offices and give up his seat in the European Parliament,” he told the German Press Agency. Krah initially did not comment on his future in the European Parliament.

Break with the EU group?

The stumbling block was Krah’s interview with the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”. Krah had said that not all members of the SS were criminals. “I will never say that anyone who wore an SS uniform was automatically a criminal,” Krah told the newspaper. When asked whether the SS were war criminals, he replied: “There were certainly a high percentage of criminals, but not all of them were criminals.” The National Socialist SS guarded and managed, among other things, the concentration camps and was largely responsible for war crimes. At the Nuremberg Trials after the end of the Second World War it was declared a criminal organization.

After the interview, Rassemblement National announced that it no longer wanted to work in a group with the AfD in the European Parliament in the future. Both parties are currently sitting in the legal group ID. RN party leader Jordan Bardella explained his party’s decision on broadcaster TF1: “I think that the AfD, with whom we have worked together in the European Parliament for five years, has crossed lines that are red lines for me.” After the election, we will have new allies and will no longer be on the side of the AfD.

Krah announces withdrawal himself

According to a spokesman, the AfD federal executive board discussed Krah’s statements and the consequences for cooperation with Rassemblement National in a telephone conference in the morning. As a result, the party spokesman confirmed the ban on Krah appearing.

The candidate himself explained on a debate about me. The AfD must maintain its unity. For this reason, I will refrain from further election campaign appearances and will resign as a member of the federal executive board.”

Krah comes from the Saxon AfD regional association. He is considered a confidant of the Thuringian AfD state leader Björn Höcke. The AfD leadership around federal chairmen Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla had already shown distance from Krah in the past few weeks.

According to media reports, public prosecutors are checking with Krah whether there should be an investigation into possible Chinese payments. According to critical party colleagues, the Saxon AfD politician has repeatedly attracted attention in the past with pro-Chinese statements and activities. In the Krahs case, the so-called preliminary investigations are being conducted by the Dresden public prosecutor’s office; in the Bystron case, there is a similar procedure in Munich. Both politicians assured the AfD leadership that they had not taken any money.

After a crisis meeting with Weidel and Chrupalla, Krah had already canceled his participation in the AfD’s election campaign launch on April 27 in Donaueschingen. But he later resumed performing.

Bystron is also refraining from campaign appearances for the time being

After searches on suspicion of money laundering and bribery, AfD Bundestag member Petr Bystron, number two on the party’s European election list, no longer wants to appear in the party’s election campaign for the time being. When asked, Bystron referred to family reasons for this step.

“My closest family members have once again become victims of a house search and media agitation,” Bystron told the German Press Agency. “Anyone who doesn’t understand that I have to take care of them first has no heart.” Bayerischer Rundfunk had previously reported on Bystron’s temporary withdrawal.

Le Pen and Meloni are keeping their distance – and Salvini is apparently too

Some right-wing parties in Europe have been arguing with the AfD for months. After the revelations by the media company Correctiv about a right-wing extremist meeting in Potsdam in January, Marine Le Pen expressed clear criticism. There was a crisis meeting with Weidel.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of the ultra-right Fratelli d’Italia distanced herself from the AfD at the beginning of the year. She spoke of “irreconcilable differences” and was referring at the time primarily to the AfD’s relations with Russia. In Europe, however, the Fratelli do not belong to the ID, but to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) party.

The Italian partner in the ID is Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega. He initially did not comment on Krah’s most recent statements. However, the Italian news agency Ansa quoted the Lega delegation in the European Parliament on Tuesday evening as saying: “As always, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen are perfectly coordinated and in agreement.”

Source: Stern

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