Horst D. Deckert

Controversial Lead Candidate Kicked Out of AfD’s Party Leadership


Several political allies have threatened the German party with expulsion from its parliamentary group over Maximilian Krah’s SS-relativizing comments.

The scandal splitting the Brussels’ right-wing populist bloc is exploding as more member parties have distanced themselves from the German Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), demanding either its lead candidate, MEP Maximilian Krah, be kicked out or the party itself leave the Identity and Democracy (ID) group following Krah’s statements attempting to relativize Nazi crimes.

Following the example of the French Rassemblement National, the Italian Lega party as well as the Danish People’s Party also distanced itself from Krah and AfD, threatening an implosion of the entire ID group if the matter is not solved quickly.

As a result, AfD’s federal leadership decided on Wednesday (May 22nd) morning, that Krah must leave the party’s presidential board, effective immediately, as well as to bar him from having any public appearance “by whatever communication channel,” a senior AfD official confirmed to The European Conservative.

Minutes after the meeting ended, Krah tweeted his own slightly more positive version. He began by saying that he was anticipating that his “factual and nuanced” statements about the Waffen-SS would be used against him, but, he added, the last thing AfD needs right now in the final stage of the EU election campaign is a controversy around the lead candidate. Therefore, he is resigning from the party’s executive board and foregoing any further campaign appearances.

Man kann nie tiefer fallen als in Gottes Hand. Ich nehme zur Kenntnis, dass sachliche und differenzierte Aussagen von mir als Vorwand missbraucht werden, um unserer Partei zu schaden. Das Letzte, was wir derzeit brauchen, ist eine Debatte um mich. Die AfD muss ihre Einigkeit…

— Dr. Maximilian Krah MdEP (@KrahMax) May 22, 2024

AfD’s regional delegations are also meeting later on Wednesday to weigh in on the issue, but the saga is far from over.

ID’s internal crisis began on Tuesday, May 21st when Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) announced it would not sit with AfD in the next mandate after Krah, the German party’s lead candidate, appeared to relativize the crimes committed by the Waffen-SS, the Nazi regimes’ infamous elite commando.

Specifically, Krah said that not every SS soldier can be automatically declared a criminal, citing examples like Günter Grass, a Nobel Prize-laureate member of the organization. “Among the 900,000 SS, there were also many peasants: there was certainly a high percentage of criminals, but not only that,” Krah said in an interview published on Saturday.

The fallout between ID’s two largest parties is further complicated by the follow-up announcement from Matteo Salvini’s Lega, the group’s third-largest member party, saying that it and RN are “perfectly aligned in agreement” that there’s no future for AfD in the ID group.

The Danish People’s Party’s MEP Anders Vistisen, ID’s unofficial Spitzenkandidat also came out against Krah in a tweet, demanding AfD get rid of him if it wants to remain part of the ID.

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