(Bloomberg) -- The Alternative for Germany’s lead candidate in next month’s European Parliament elections quit the far-right party’s leadership committee following a string of scandals and said he won’t take part in any more campaign events.

In the latest misstep, Maximilian Krah was quoted last week by Italian newspaper la Repubblica as saying that not all members of the Nazi SS paramilitary organization were criminals. The comments prompted the party of French far-right politician Marine Le Pen to break off ties with the AfD, which belongs to the same group as her National Rally in the EU legislature.

Krah was already under pressure after an assistant was detained last month suspected of spying for China.

“I note that factual and nuanced statements from me are being misused as an excuse to damage our party,” Krah said Wednesday in a post on the platform X.

“The last thing we need at the moment is a debate about me,” he added. “The AfD must maintain its unity. For this reason, I will refrain from further election campaign appearances with immediate effect and resign as a member of the federal executive committee.”

AfD co-leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla said in a statement after talks with Krah that he had admitted causing “massive damage” to the party ahead of the June 6-9 European ballot.

His decision to “take full political responsibility for this” and resign from the leadership body and halt campaigning “was welcomed by a majority,” they added.

Support for the AfD appears to have been dented by a number of controversies in recent months, including the arrest of Krah’s assistant and a probe into a member of the lower house of parliament in Berlin who allegedly took cash from a pro-Russia media outlet.

Bjoern Hoecke, the head of the party in the eastern state of Thuringia, was found guilty last week of using a Nazi slogan at a rally and fined €13,000 ($14,095).

At the same time, the AfD’s projected share of the vote has held up relatively well in opinion polls for the EU vote. A survey for German public broadcaster ZDF published last week showed the AfD level with the Greens in second place on 15%, one percentage point ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats. The main opposition conservatives led on 31%.

Le Pen made some damning remarks in an interview Wednesday on Europe 1 radio, accusing the AfD of “going from one provocation to another.”

“It’s time to make a clean break with this movement, which has no leadership and is clearly under the sway of radical groups within it,” she added.

Thibaut Francois, an RN lawmaker in the national parliament in Paris, told Bloomberg Television Wednesday that the European Identity and Democracy group, or ID, will probably ask the AfD not to sit with them in the next EU legislature.

Read More: Why Eyes Are on the Far Right in European Elections: QuickTake

Krah’s comments to la Repubblica could be interpreted as “playing down the role of the Nazis during World War Two, which is definitely a red line for RN or any other member of the ID,” Francois said.

AfD leaders have accused the government and political opponents of attempting to discredit the party before the EU election and three regional votes in eastern Germany in September.

It’s the strongest force in all three of those federal states, according to polls, but is unlikely to get into government as all other parties have ruled out joining it in coalition.

--With assistance from Michael Nienaber, Zoe Schneeweiss, Francine Lacqua and Flavia Rotondi.

(Updates with AfD statement starting in sixth paragraph)

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