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The German far-right AfD claims the ‘right to govern’ after winning elections in the EU


The far-right AfD’s second place in the European Parliament elections has underlined the party’s growing strength and claim to power, the co-leader of Alternative for Germany said on Monday.

Other German political parties have refused to form coalitions with the AfD or work with far-right populists in government institutions, effectively removing the party from power.

“We were already popping the corks yesterday,” AfD co-chair Alice Weidel told journalists in Berlin during the AfD’s election review. “People want us to take on the responsibility of government.”

Weidel argued that the party’s increased support, especially in East Germany, meant that they could not be kept out of government forever. Three eastern German states will hold elections in September, and the AfD took a clear first place in the region in the European Parliament elections.

“We have the right to govern,” she said. “If you look at the results in Saxony, you know who will be the next state premier.”

She also demanded that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz call early elections, given the poor performance of all three parties in his coalition.

AfD legislators start up Krah of faction

The newly elected AfD candidates in the European Parliament voted on Monday to exclude Maximilian Krah – who was the party’s best candidate in the election campaign – from the party delegation in the European Parliament.

The party had banned Krah from campaigning by the party in the run-up to the vote, after Krah found himself at the center of several scandals.

Krah’s exclusion from the AfD delegation could be part of an effort to put things in order with other far-right parties in the European Parliament that form the ID bloc, including French politician Marine Le’s right-wing populist National Rally Pen.

Krah is facing a criminal investigation into allegations that he may have accepted cash from Russia and China. A former top aide to Krah was arrested separately on charges of spying for China.

Krah also made highly controversial comments to an Italian newspaper, saying that members of the infamous Nazi SS paramilitaries were not all criminals. These comments caused outrage, including among far-right politicians in other European countries.

In response to Krah’s comments, the ID bloc expelled the AfD from their group in the European Parliament.

Krah is still expected to take a seat in the European Parliament, and he is still a member of the AfD, but will be excluded from the AfD delegation. The party’s newly elected lawmakers voted eight to four to kick him out, while three abstained.

However, Krah remained confident after his expulsion on Monday, calling the move a strategic mistake by the AfD and suggesting it might not sit well with local party groups and voters in eastern Germany.

Bystron detained after denying the charges

Unlike Krah, the AfD’s number two candidate on the election list, Petr Bystron, will be part of the AfD delegation in Brussels, despite also facing accusations of foreign influence.

Bystron has been linked to a pro-Russian propaganda outlet and was allegedly captured on audio recordings accepting cash from sources linked to the Kremlin, according to a Czech newspaper report.

Bystron strongly denied the accusations and according to AfD co-chair Tino Chrupalla, he made an affidavit to his new colleagues on Monday that he had not taken any money and that the allegations against him are all false.

Gains among young voters

AfD co-chairman Tino Chrupalla expressed his delight on Monday about the exit polls showing that the party is making significant gains among young people.

The AfD won an estimated 16% among 16- to 24-year-old voters in Germany, a full 11 percentage points more than in the last European Parliament elections in 2019.

Chrupalla said young people had “used their heads to think” and were “no longer influenced” by the public media, which has long been an enemy of the AfD.

He also claimed that young voters felt that the AfD was “not being treated fairly” and was being “marginalized.”

Germany has allowed people aged 16 and over to vote in the European Parliament elections for the first time this year.

Chrupalla claimed that lowering the voting age was a ‘trick of the green populists’, but claimed it was likely to ‘backfire’ and benefit his party instead.

In addition to the Krah and Bystron scandals, the AfD was also the subject of weeks of anti-right mass protests across Germany after news reports showed AfD politicians attending a meeting with far-right extremists to discuss plans to expel immigrants. of the country.

But the party apparently weathered the negative headlines to gain ground in the vote, finishing second among German voters with 15.9% of the vote and claiming 15 seats.

Newly elected head of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) delegation to the European Parliament Rene Aust pictured after consultations with the newly elected AfD members after the European elections. Britta Pedersen/dpa

Chairman of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary group in the Bundestag Alice Weidel arrives at a press conference after the European elections. Kay Nietfeld/dpa

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