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8 May, 2024 09:31

German party disciplines regional MP over visit to Moscow

The AfD in Hamburg intends to kick out a lawmaker who recently served as an election observer in Russia
German party disciplines regional MP over visit to Moscow

A Siberian-born German politician is being punished by her party for allegedly deceiving fellow members about her intention to serve as an election observer in Russia.

Olga Petersen, who is an Alternative for Germany (AfD) member of the Hamburg State Parliament, went to Russia in March to observe the presidential election and shared her impressions about the process in interviews with local media at the time.

The right-wing party's Hamburg branch announced on Tuesday that she had been removed from its faction in the parliament and that a legal process for her ouster from the party had been launched.

The statement listed several reasons for the disciplinary action, most related to Petersen's alleged disruptive impact on internal party politics. The AfD also accused her of deceiving fellow members by telling them she was going to Russia in a personal capacity and acting otherwise during the trip.

The German government has denounced the Russian election, claiming it was neither free nor fair, and declined to send a representative to the inauguration of Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The Russian president won in a landslide in March, securing a fifth term in office.

According to German media, earlier this year, the AfD’s federal leadership reprimanded three members of its Bavarian branch who defied its warnings not to observe the Russian election. In general, however, the party is critical of the government’s handling of the Ukraine crisis and advocates for improving relations with Moscow.

Petersen was the only woman in the AfD’s faction in the Hamburg Parliament. Now that she is independent, the group has shrunk to six members. She told NDR radio that her loyalties remain with the party and that she is preparing for a legal battle against the motion to expel her.