German MEP quits leftist bloc after far-right past unmasked

German MEP quits leftist bloc after far-right past unmasked
NPD members protesting outside of an asylum home in Eisenhüttenstadt in 2014. Photo: DPA
A German MEP has resigned from the European Parliament's hard left group, it said Tuesday, after he was unmasked as a former member of the far right ultra-nationalist NPD party.

Martin Buschmann, a 49-year-old from Hamburg, was elected to the Strasbourg assembly in May last year on as a member of the tiny Animal Protection Party (Die Tierschutzpartei).

Once in parliament, he joined the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), the main far left voting bloc.

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Recently, however, reports surfaced of his earlier association with the notorious NPD, forcing him to quit the leftists and issue a long apology about his past ties.

In a Facebook post, Buschmann confirmed the report that he was in the NPD “about 25 years ago”, but said he had joined because he “had fallen in love with a woman who was there.”

Although he insisted he had not been an enthusiastic activist, he said it was “difficult to resist the group dynamics” and said he had put his name forward for party jobs.

He eventually resigned and moved into left-wing causes, and says that now, “Nothing disgusts me more than racism, anti-Semitism, fascism or discrimination of any kind.”

He apologized for not having been transparent about his past, but said he wanted to remain in the parliament and to work on its agriculture committee to promote animal rights.

In a statement, the GUE/NGL said the European party was “disappointed in the breach of trust that has been committed” and had accepted Buschmann's resignation.

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