Germany's AfD bans scandal-hit lead candidate from EU election events

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Germany's AfD bans scandal-hit lead candidate from EU election events
Maximilian Krah, the AfD's top candidate for the European elections, speaks in front of a crucifix at an election event in Bavaria in May. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Puchner

Germany's AfD party on Wednesday banned its leading candidate from appearing at EU election campaign events, after France's main far-right party announced a split with the Germans over a slew of scandals involving the politician.


After a crisis meeting with the AfD's top brass, Maximilian Krah, who is being investigated for suspicious links to Russia and China, said he will also leave the party's federal steering committee.

"The last thing that we need now is a debate about me. The AfD must keep its unity," Krah told Welt newspaper.

"For this reason, I will not make any further campaign appearances and will step down as a member of the federal committee."

The anti-immigration party has been battling to draw a line under a series of controversies over the last weeks that have sent its popularity ratings sliding.

READ ALSO: How spying scandal has rocked troubled German far-right party

Krah is at the centre of a deepening crisis after one of his aides in the European Parliament was arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

Krah and another AfD candidate for the EU elections, Petr Bystron, have also been forced to deny allegations they accepted money to spread pro-Russian positions on a Moscow-financed news website.

But German prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation against Krah himself over reports of suspicious payments received from China and Russia.

The bad news for the AfD piled up further on Tuesday when France's National Rally announced it "decided to no longer sit with" AfD deputies in the EU parliament.


The RN said it was going to create some distance from the AfD after Krah, in a weekend interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said that someone who had been a member of the SS paramilitary force in Nazi Germany was "not automatically a criminal".

The RN and AfD had been the key members of an EU parliament group called Identity and Democracy that also included several other European far-right parties.

READ ALSO: What's at stake in Germany's European election vote?



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