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France’s Le Pen Balks at AfD’s Deportation Plan.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s right-wing populist National Rally party, indicated during a press conference Thursday that she is reconsidering her party’s alliance with Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party, citing significant differences over a controversial AfD deportation plan.

News of AfD leaders discussing the potential deportation of immigrants, as well as German citizens deemed to have “failed to integrate,” led to widespread protests in Germany last weekend. Le Pen, who is currently leading in polls for France’s upcoming presidential elections, voiced her party’s strong opposition to the concept of ‘remigration’ — deporting citizens of migrant descent who have failed to integrate — saying: “We have never advocated for ‘remigration’ in the sense of withdrawing French citizenship from people who have acquired it, even under conditions we dispute.”

This disagreement between National Rally and AfD could destabilize the European Parliament’s Identity and Democracy Group, potentially reducing the right-wing populist bloc’s ability to influence European laws and projects, including aid packages for Ukraine. “We will have to discuss differences as important as these and see whether or not they will have consequences for our ability to work together in the same group,” Le Pen said.

Following Le Pen’s comments, Daniel Tapp, spokesman for AfD co-leader Alice Weidel, attempted to downplay LePen’s comments. “As is usual among friends, we will seek a discussion to clear up any misunderstandings,” he said. “We will fully inform our partners in Paris about the completely baseless media campaign.”

Right-wing populists across Europe are predicted to make significant gains in the European elections this year. The European Council on Foreign Relations predicts right-wing populist and nationalist parties could emerge as the dominant force in the European Parliament.

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