The German far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) announced on Monday January 29 that it would soon hold discussions with Marine Le Pen, while the leading figure of the National Rally (RN) recently took distances with this party to which it is allied at European level.

According to an investigation published Wednesday January 10 by the German investigative site Correctiv, several officials from the German far-right party met, in the presence of party donors and members of the neo-Nazi movement, in a hotel in Potsdam, the November 25, 2023, to discuss a planned large-scale expulsion of Germans of foreign origin.

After these revelations, Marine Le Pen said she was ready, during her wishes to the press, to break with the AfD, saying she “totally disagreed with the proposal that would have been discussed or would have been decided within the framework” of this secret meeting.

The aim of these talks is to “rectify reality”, declared AfD MP Bernd Baumann on Monday from Berlin. “We consider that this is a misunderstanding (…) which we hope to clarify soon”, also told Agence France-Presse a spokesperson for Maximilian Krah, MEP of the AfD, candidate for the European elections in June.

Allied parties in the European Parliament

The distancing displayed by Marine Le Pen was considered all the more surprising given that in the European Parliament, the National Rally (RN) and the AfD are allied and sit in the same group – Identity and Democracy (ID) – where they have 18 and 10 seats respectively, out of 63 members. The German ally currently seems all the more essential to the RN as it receives more than 20% of voting intentions in the European elections.

According to Mr. Baumann, Ms. Le Pen made her statements “on the basis of press reports of which she was aware” and which according to him were “entirely false in their tone.” Terms such as “deportation” and “mass expulsion” were not used during the meeting, assured Mr. Baumann, for whom these are erroneous attributions on the part of Correctiv and a large part of the press.

The revelation that this meeting was taking place caused shock waves in Germany. It led to a massive mobilization in the streets of civil society aimed at denouncing the dangers for democracy represented by the AfD, a party which has firmly established itself in the German political landscape since its entry into the Bundestag in 2017.

Wave of mobilization in Germany

More than 800,000 people took to the streets throughout the weekend of January 27 and 28, including in Hamburg and Düsseldorf, organizers said. The previous weekend, the number of participants was estimated at 1.4 million by organizers.

In the wake of this mobilization, the AfD suffered an electoral setback on Sunday, losing its bet to win a second canton presidency, during local elections in the Saale-Orla district, in the east German region of Thuringia. Its candidate, Uwe Thrume, received only 47.6% of the vote in the second round of voting on Sunday, improving his first round score by just 1.9 points, while his conservative rival enjoyed a strong vote carryover to finish at 52.4%.

The defeat of the AfD, which started as favorite, was achieved “thanks to the mobilization of civil society”, judged the number two in the Thuringia region, the social democrat Georg Maier.