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AfD moves to boot lawmaker for anti-Semitism

Elizabeth Schumacher (dpa)June 21, 2016

The nationalist AfD has promised to file a motion to expel controversial legislator Wolfgang Gedeon from Baden-Württemberg's parliament. Gedeon has called Judaism an "enemy" of the West and downplayed the Holocaust.

Stuttgart Wolfgang Gedeon AfD
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Schmidt

The populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) was set to make a move to oust controversial lawmaker Wolfgang Gedeon from the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg. After initial hesitance to penalize Gedeon over his anti-Semitic statements, party spokesman Jörg Meuthen said the AfD would file a motion in court on Tuesday to have him removed from office.

After the Stuttgart court has received the brief, the nationalists said, they would give Gedeon five days to leave of his own accord; otherwise they would force him out with a majority vote.

Meuthen, who is also a lawmaker in Baden-Württemberg on top of acting as federal party spokesman, has said that should the AfD fail to expel Gedeon, he would resign himself.

Gedeon: Judaism is a 'domestic enemy'

The charges against the doctor-turned-politician stem from writings he published several years ago where he argues against the existence of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, saying that "certain crimes" should not be given too much prominence. He also called Judaism the "domestic enemy" of the "Christian West," while Islam was the "external enemy."

While finally taking issue with Gedeon's remarks, the AfD continued its stance against Islam on Tuesday with party leader Frauke Petry saying that the West was "threatened" by "increasing Muslim immigration."

Despite nearly constant infighting since the party was founded as a Euroskeptic, financially conservative group in 2013, the AfD has made huge gains in recent regional elections and is now represented in half of Germany's 16 state legislatures.

At its party convention in April, the AfD voted to adopt the stance that "Islam is not part of Germany," as part of its first official manifesto, drawing fierce criticism at home and abroad.