BERLIN — They promised they would “hunt” the elites. They questioned the need for a Holocaust memorial in Berlin and described Muslim immigrants as “head scarf girls” and “knife men.”
Four years ago the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, arrived in the German Parliament like a wrecking ball, the first far-right party to win a place at the heart of Germany’s democracy since World War II. It was a political earthquake in a country that had once seen Hitler’s Nazi party rise from the fringes to win power in free elections.
Founded eight years ago as nationalist free-market protest party against the Greek bailout and the euro, the AfD has sharply shifted to the right.
The party seized on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to welcome over a million migrants to Germany in 2015 and 2016, actively fanning fears of Islamization and migrant crime. Its noisy nationalism and anti-immigrant stance were what first catapulted it into Parliament and instantly turned it into Germany’s main opposition party.
But the party has struggled to expand its early gains during the past 18 months, as the pandemic and, more recently, climate change have shot to the top of the list of voters’ concerns — while its core issue of immigration has barely featured in this year’s election campaign.
The AfD has tried to jump on the chaos in Afghanistan to fan fears of a new migrant crisis. “Cologne, Kassel or Konstanz can’t cope with more Kabul,” one of the party’s campaign posters asserted. “Save the world? Sure. But Germany first!” another read.
At a recent election rally north of Frankfurt, Mr. Chrupalla demanded that lawmakers “abolish” the constitutional right to asylum. He also told the public broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Germany should be prepared to protect its borders, “if need be with armed force.”
None of this rhetoric has shifted the race, particularly because voters seem to have more fundamental concerns about the party’s aura of extremism. Some AfD leaders have marched with extremists in the streets, while among the party’s supporters are an eclectic array of conspiracy theorists and neo-Nazi sympathizers.
shot dead on his front porch by a well-known neo-Nazi. The killer later told the court that he had attended a high-profile AfD protest a year earlier.
Since then, a far-right extremist has attacked a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle during a Yom Kippur service, leaving two dead and only narrowly failing to commit a massacre. Another extremist shot dead 9 mostly young people with immigrant roots in the western city of Hanau.
The AfD’s earlier rise in the polls stalled almost instantly after the Hanau attack.
“After these three attacks, the wider German public and media realized for the first time that the rhetoric of the AfD leads to real violence,” said Hajo Funke of the Free University in Berlin, who has written extensively about the party and tracks its evolution.
“It was a turning point,” he said. “They have come to personify the notion that words lead to deeds.”
Shortly after the Hanau attack, Thomas Haldenwang, the chief of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, placed elements of the AfD under surveillance for far-right extremism — even as the party’s lawmakers continued to work in Parliament.
“We know from German history that far-right extremism didn’t just destroy human lives, it destroyed democracy,” Mr. Haldenwang warned after announcing his decision in March last year. “Far-right extremism and far-right terrorism are currently the biggest danger for democracy in Germany.”
Today, the agency has classified about a third of all AfD members as extremist, including Mr. Chrupalla and Alice Weidel, the party’s other lead candidate. A court is reviewing whether the entire party can soon be placed under formal observation.
“The AfD is irrelevant in power-political terms,” said Mr. Funke. “But it is dangerous.”
Mr. Chrupalla, a decorator who occasionally takes the stage in his overalls, and Ms. Weidel, a suit-wearing former Goldman Sachs analyst and gay mother of two, have sought to counter that impression. As if to hammer home the point, the party’s main election slogan this year is: “Germany — but normal.”
A look through the party’s 207-page election program shows what “normal” means: The AfD demands Germany’s exit from the European Union. It calls for the abolition of any mandates to fight the coronavirus. It wants to return to the traditional German definition of citizenship based on blood ancestry. And it is the only party in Parliament that denies man-made climate change, while also calling for investment in coal and a departure from the Paris climate accord.
That the AfD’s polling numbers have barely budged for the past 18 months suggests that its supporters are not protest voters but Germans who subscribe to its ideas and ideology.
“The AfD has brought out into the open a small but very radical electorate that many thought we don’t have in this country,” said Mr. Quent, the sociologist. “Four years ago people were asking: ‘Where does this come from?’ In reality it was always there. It just needed a trigger.”
Mr. Quent and other experts estimate the nationwide ceiling of support for the party at around 14 percent. But in parts of the former Communist East, where the AfD has become a broad-based political force entrenched at the local level, it is often twice that — enough to make it the region’s second-strongest political force.
Among the under 60-year olds, Mr. Quent said, it has become No. 1.
“It’s only a question of time until AfD is the strongest party in the East,” Mr. Quent said.
That is why Mr. Chrupalla, whose constituency is in the eastern state of Saxony, the one state where the AfD already came first in 2017, predicts it will eventually become too big to bypass.
“In the East we are a people’s party, we are well-established at the local, city, regional and state level,” Mr. Chrupalla said. “In the East the middle class votes for the AfD. In the West, they vote for the Greens.”
Christopher F. Schuetze and Melissa Eddy contributed reporting.
PARIS — Walking home one night several years ago in a suburb of Paris, Raphaël Marre was horrified to see a group of migrants and asylum seekers sleeping on the street outside his home.
Why wasn’t the government housing them? he wondered. After witnessing the same scene for several weeks, he and his wife decided to do it themselves, signing up with a nonprofit that links migrants with people in the Paris region willing to open up their homes for a few nights.
“That was a triggering moment,” Mr. Marre said. “We thought, ‘This can’t be happening, we have to do something.’”
Five years after a migrant crisis that convulsed Europe, France is still struggling to accommodate the thousands of people who have applied for asylum in France. And Mr. Marre is still welcoming them into his home.
France, and much of Europe, was facing a large influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, driven from their homes by war and economic deprivation.
introduced an initiative that would create 4,500 new spaces in 2021. However, it is “still far from enough to meet the needs,” said Ms. Le Coz.
France’s struggle to accommodate migrants and asylum seekers has become particularly conspicuous in the streets of the Paris region. In what has become a seemingly never-ending cycle, the police regularly clear out hundreds of migrants and raze their tents and shacks, often offering them no alternative but to move somewhere else.
Utopia 56 relies on a network of volunteers, private citizens, parishes and private companies that have sheltered nearly 3,000 people during the pandemic.
Xavier Lachaume, 31, and his wife have hosted eight families in their apartment in Saint-Denis, a northern Paris suburb, since January. For now, visitors stay in their spare bedroom for a couple of nights, which they plan to turn into a room for a baby they expect in coming months.
82,000 asylum applications in 2020, according to Eurostat, Europe’s statistics agency. First-time applicants declined more than 40 percent from 2019, a drop partly attributed to the coronavirus. But Mr. Manzi predicts another surge once the pandemic passes.
President Emmanuel Macron told Brut, an online news site, in December that “the slowness of our procedures means that” asylum seekers “can indeed find themselves for weeks and months” without proper accommodation.
right-wing politicians and conservative news media increasingly drawing a link between illegal migration and terrorism. Mr. Macron’s government has adopted a tougher approach on immigration, hoping that lures voters away from the far right.
Mr. Sanogo said he had arrived in France in 2016 after fleeing Ivory Coast, citing continuing turmoil stemming from the 2011 civil war that tore apart the country, and has lived in a series of workers’ hostels, making money off the books as a construction worker. His wife and their 9-year-old daughter joined him last month, but they were not allowed to stay in his hostel, forcing them to sleep in the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris.
Mr. Sanogo, 44, said his asylum application when he arrived in 2016 had been rejected because he did not make the request in Italy, where he first arrived in Europe, as he was supposed to do under E.U. rules. But he said he had an appointment with a lawyer to make a new application in France, this time with his family.
As he boarded the Metro with his family to go to their hosts, Mr. Sanogo recounted how he had made his away from Ivory Coast to Libya, were he said he was beaten up and robbed by traffickers, and eventually made it to Italy after a perilous boat trip across the Mediterranean.
Mr. Sanogo seemed grateful for Mr. Marre’s hospitality, but mindful that it was only for a night, said he had hidden a bag full of clothes and sheets on the outskirts of Paris.
PARIS — The French prime minister and the chief of staff of the army have condemned ananonymous letter signed by people claiming to be active-duty troops warning about impending “civil war” in France.
Prime Minister Jean Castex told Le Parisien newspaper that the letter was a “political maneuver” by the “extreme right.” Gen. François Lecointre, the army chief of staff, said that the signatories should quit the armed forces if they wanted to freely express their political opinions.
It is unclear how many soldiers are behind the letter, the second such message from active-duty or retired military personnel to appear in the past month. The managing editor of Valeurs Actuelles, the right-wing magazine that published both letters, said the latest was from “active military personnel” and that a bailiff would certify their signatures.
When that might happen was unclear.
The anonymous letter, addressed to President Emmanuel Macron, said: “We see violence in our towns and villages. We see communitarianism taking hold in the public space, in public debate. We see hatred of France and its history becoming the norm.”
previous one, signed by some 1,500 mostly retiredidentified military personnel, including dozens of generals, which described France as being in a state of disarray and warned of a possible coup in thinly veiled terms.
The second letter, which is open for readers to sign, had garnered some 250,000 signatures of support as of Tuesday evening.
The new letter is an unusual escalation in the political involvement of military personnel, with active-duty soldiers now backing retired officers. It has fanned the flames of an already heated debate on security in France, where a series of Islamist terrorist attacks over the past seven months, as well as other violence against the police, have spread unease.
moving right, has recently toughened his stance on security, and against what he calls “Islamist separatism,” in an attempt to blunt the appeal of the far-right leader Marine Le Pen. She expressed strong support for the first letter from the military, and urged the retired officers to join her campaign.
seven-year anti-Islamist operation in the Sahel, a vast region of sub-Saharan Africa, which has had mixed results.
“They have offered up their lives to destroy the Islamism that you have made concessions to on our soil,” the letter read.
A significant proportion of the military in France has long supported the far right in elections. Nearly half of the police and military would vote for Ms. Le Pen in the first round of the 2022 presidential election, according to a survey revealed by the newspaper L’Opinion on Tuesday.
said that some signatories would go before a senior military council and would face punishments ranging from forced full retirement to other disciplinary action.
He softened that stance in a letter to military personnel on Tuesday, a copy of which The New York Times obtained. It contained no threat of punishment but pointed out that the letters “have contributed to dragging the army into political debates where it has neither the legitimacy nor the vocation to intervene.”
Citing a violation of military obligations, Gen. Lecointre encouraged the signatories to “leave the institution in order to freely express their ideas and convictions.”
Members of the far right were quick to voice their support for the new letter on Monday, just as Ms. Le Pen had endorsed the first letter in April, when she called on the retired generals “to join our movement and take part in the battle that is beginning.”
JERUSALEM — Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the Israeli opposition, was asked on Wednesday to try to form a coalition government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so by a Tuesday deadline.
Mr. Netanyahu remains caretaker prime minister and if Mr. Lapid cannot cobble together a government, the country could face another election this summer, its fifth general election in a little more than two years.
Mr. Lapid has 28 days to persuade a majority of the 120-seat Parliament to support him after the president, Reuven Rivlin, gave him the mandate to begin coalition negotiations.
In the March election campaign, Mr. Lapid, 57, ran on a promise to preserve checks and balances, and to prevent Mr. Netanyahu from remaining in office at the head of a right-wing, religious alliance that seeks to curb the power of the judiciary.
divisions and complexities of Israeli politics currently make it impossible for Mr. Lapid to win office without reaching a compromise with parts of the far right.
general election in March with 17 seats, behind Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing party, Likud, with 30 seats.
offering Mr. Bennett a power-sharing deal in which, like the deal proposed by Mr. Lapid, Mr. Bennett would go first as prime minister.
But Mr. Bennett rejected it because the proposed alliance would still not have commanded a parliamentary majority.
Right-wing parties hold a majority in Parliament, but have been unable to form a functional government over the past two years because they are divided between those who support Mr. Netanyahu, and those who believe he should resign to focus on his corruption trial.
That split has redrawn the Israeli political map — as political ideology has become defined more by perceptions of Mr. Netanyahu than by economic policy or approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
BERLIN — The police in Germany have arrested a 53-year-old man with a history of support for the far right in connection with a series of death threats sent to well-known progressives, including a lawyer, a politician and a comedian, the authorities said on Tuesday.
The threats usually included information known only to the authorities, such as the names of the targets’ children or their home addresses, initially leading investigators to suspect that police officers were involved and adding to concerns about the increasing influence of far-right extremists within the ranks of law enforcement.
Peter Beuth, interior minister for the central state of Hesse, where most of the victims lived, told reporters on Tuesday, “The threatening letters had raised very serious suspicions about the police.” But, he added, “According to everything we know today, no Hessian police officer was ever responsible.”
The authorities said on Tuesday that the suspect, who has not been publicly identified in keeping with German privacy laws, had never worked as a police officer. Many of the notes were signed “NSU 2.0,” a reference to a far-right terrorist group that killed 10 people, laid bombs and committed robberies for more than a decade, starting in 1999.
The authorities in Hesse said that the death threats began in 2018 and were sent mostly to women known for their work on behalf of migrants.
The suspect was detained in Berlin at the request of the authorities in Hesse as part of an investigation that began in 2019.
The man has a criminal record that includes unspecified right-wing crimes, according to the Hesse State authorities. Several news outlets reported that he had obtained at least some of the personal information by contacting public registries and demanding access while impersonating a police officer.
The campaign of threats also inspired copycats. Last summer, a former police officer in Bavaria and his wife were arrested on charges of sending similar threatening letters.
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — The country’s largest-circulation tabloid called him the “scandal asylum seeker” and accused him (falsely) of entering the country illegally. People hacked his social media accounts and broadcast his location and personal information. A far-right political leader decried him as the “ringleader” of a violent protest, while another even suggested people like him would be a good reason to bring back the death penalty in Germany.
Alassa Mfouapon is hardly the first refugee to become sensationalist fodder for tabloids or a convenient scapegoat for far-right, anti-immigration politicians. In the five years since a major wave of refugees arrived in Germany, such portrayals have become commonplace.
But the 31-year-old from Cameroon is the first to take them to court for those depictions — and win.
In the process, he has emerged as an ideological lightning rod in the debate over refugee politics in Germany, his journey highlighting the disconnect between the country’s image on refugee issues and the reality for many of those who seek asylum here.
German court ruled that aspects of the police’s handling of the Ellwangen raid were illegal. The court did not rule entirely in his favor — it said, for example, that his 2018 deportation to Italy was legal, and that people in refugee facilities like Ellwangen cannot expect the same privacy rights as ordinary citizens. But his case has spurred a re-examination of the treatment of the Ellwangen incident in the German news media, drawing more attention to the voices of the refugees involved.
Cases like Mr. Mfouapon’s remain rare, because few refugees want to stand up to the state for fear they will become targets, just as Mr. Mfouapon has.
Mr. Mfouapon returned to Germany in 2019. He and his wife split up, unable to move past the loss of their son. He has added German to his other language skills and, with the help of some activists involved in his petition, applied for and started a training program in media production last year.
He has also launched a refugee advocacy organization to continue drawing awareness to these issues. Speaking out about his experiences is important to him personally, but is also a way to cope with the trauma and loss he has faced.
“All these events in my life, all these things that were happening before — if you want to deal with them, the only way you can do it is to try to go forward,” he said. “To say, ‘I will be fighting for the people who are not yet in this situation, so that what’s happening will not happen to anyone else.’”
He believes Germany needs to re-examine its asylum policy, and is pushing for changes to the Dublin rule. With worsening conditions in his home country and many others, Mr. Mfouapon said, migration issues will only intensify in coming years — and governments like Germany’s need to be ready with better solutions.
“They are trying to stop it, they are not trying to solve it,” he said. “And trying to stop something that’s exploded already — you can’t.”
PARIS — The French government, responding to several attacks over the past seven months, presented a new anti-terrorism bill on Wednesday that would allow intense algorithmic surveillance of phone and internet communications and tighten restrictions on convicted terrorists emerging from prison.
Prepared before the latest terrorist attack — the fatal stabbing five days ago of a police employee by a radicalized Tunisian immigrant — the bill assumed greater urgency in a country where feelings of insecurity have spread.
“There have been nine attacks in a row that we could not detect through current means,” Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, told France Inter radio. “We continue to be blind, doing surveillance on normal phone lines that nobody uses any longer.”
The draft bill, prepared by Mr. Darmanin, came in a political and social climate envenomed by Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, who applauded a letter published this month by 20 retired generals that described France as being in a state of “disintegration” and warned of a possible coup in thinly veiled terms.
Ms. Parly said on Twitter, alluding to the far right leader’s candidacy in the presidential election next year.
She continued: “The politicization of the armed forces suggested by Ms. Le Pen would weaken our military and therefore France itself. The armed forces are not there to campaign but to defend France and protect the French.”
The defense minister said the retired officers involved could be disciplined, and checks were being conducted to verify whether any active-service military personnel were involved.
The letter, published on the 60th anniversary of a failed coup by generals opposed to France’s granting independence to Algeria, amounted to a distillation of the extreme right’s conviction that France is being torn apart by the kind of violence that last week killed the police officer, Stéphanie Monfermé. Her assailant’s position of having been in France illegally for a decade before regularizing his status only fueled the right’s ire.
The retired generals alluded to the “suburban hordes” — a derogatory reference to the mainly Muslim immigrants gathered in aging tower-block developments around major French cities — who they said were detaching segments of the nation “to transform them into territories subject to dogmas opposed to our Constitution.”
One such dogma, they made clear, was “Islamism” and another rampant “racialism” — a word used often in France to denounce the importation from the United States of forms of identity politics that see issues through the prism of race.
Ms. Le Pen has been engaged in what French commentators call a “banalization” operation aimed at making her look more mainstream. Her outburst clearly did not help this effort. An attempted pivot in a radio interview, in which she said that all problems should be solved peacefully, betrayed her unease.
Mr. Darmanin’s draft bill would, if approved by Parliament, pave the way for increased use of computer algorithms that allow the automatic processing of data from phones and web addresses to detect potential terror threats. This use, patchy and experimental until now, would be enshrined in law, and intelligence services would be able to keep the data for research purposes for up to two months.
Laurent Nuñez, France’s national intelligence and counterterrorism coordinator, told France Inter that the technique would apply to communications with people living in sensitive areas, such as Syria, where strongholds of jihadist terrorists remain.
“An algorithm tomorrow will not be able to detect the content of this communication,” Mr. Nuñez said, by way of example. But it would be able “to detect that an individual in France has come into contact with an individual in northwestern Syria.”
Intelligence services could then ask for permission to further investigate the case.
Mr. Darmanin, responding to concerns that civil liberties will be gravely infringed, said that several layers of authorization would be required before tapping the conversations of people detected as suspect by the algorithms.
Concern about infractions of civil liberties in the fight against terrorism have been growing for some time. Arthur Messaud, a lawyer for an association that defends personal online rights and freedom, told France Inter the scope of the new measures was unclear. For example, would all instant messaging be monitored?
The draft bill would also allow the government to monitor terrorists who have completed their prison terms by requiring them to live in certain areas, limiting their movements and barring them from going anywhere — like a sports stadium — that presents “a particular terrorism risk.”
Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, a podcaster who fought to overturn the 2020 presidential election, recently railed against mask mandates to her 4,000 fans in a live broadcast and encouraged them to enter stores maskless. On another day, she grew emotional while thanking them for sending her $84,000.
Millie Weaver, a former correspondent for the conspiracy theory website Infowars, speculated on her channel that coronavirus vaccines could be used to surveil people. Later, she plugged her merchandise store, where she sells $30 “Drain the Swamp” T-shirts and hats promoting conspiracies.
And a podcaster who goes by Zak Paine or Redpill78, who pushes the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, urged his viewers to donate to the congressional campaign of an Ohio man who has said he attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6.
Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms clamped down on misinformation and hate speech ahead of the 2020 election.
apps like Google Podcasts, where far-right influencers have scattered as their options for spreading falsehoods have dwindled.
Twitch became a multibillion-dollar business thanks to video gamers broadcasting their play of games like Fortnite and Call of Duty. Fans, many of whom are young men, pay the gamers by subscribing to their channels or donating money. Streamers earn even more by sending their fans to outside sites to either buy merchandise or donate money.
Now Twitch has also become a place where right-wing personalities spread election and vaccine conspiracy theories, often without playing any video games. It is part of a shift at the platform, where streamers have branched out from games into fitness, cooking, fishing and other lifestyle topics in recent years.
But unlike fringe livestreaming sites like Dlive and Trovo, which have also offered far-right personalities moneymaking opportunities, Twitch attracts far larger audiences. On average, 30 million people visit the site each day, the platform said.
stricter rules than other social media platforms for the kinds of views that users can express. It temporarily suspended Mr. Trump’s account for “hateful conduct” last summer, months before Facebook and Twitter made similar moves. Its community guidelines prohibit hateful conduct and harassment. Ms. Clemens said Twitch was developing a misinformation policy.
This month, Twitch announced a policy that would allow it to suspend the accounts of people who committed crimes or severe offenses in real life or on other social media platforms, including violent extremism or membership in a known hate group. Twitch said it did not consider QAnon to be a hate group.
Despite all this, a Twitch channel belonging to Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, a white nationalist organization, remained online until the middle of this month after The New York Times inquired about it. And the white nationalist Anthime Joseph Gionet, known as Baked Alaska, had a Twitch channel for months, even though he was arrested in January by the F.B.I. and accused of illegally storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Twitch initially said his activities had not violated the platform’s policies, then barred him this month for hateful conduct.
has said is dangerous. Last week, he referred to a QAnon belief that people are killing children to “harvest” a chemical compound from them, then talked about a “criminal cabal” controlling the government, saying people do not understand “what plane of existence they come from.”
Mr. Paine, who is barred from Twitter and YouTube, has also asked his Twitch audience to donate to the House campaign of J.R. Majewski, an Air Force veteran in Toledo, Ohio, who attracted attention last year for painting his lawn to look like a Trump campaign banner. Mr. Majewski has used QAnon hashtags but distanced himself from the movement in an interview with his local newspaper, The Toledo Blade.
Mr. Majewski has appeared on Mr. Paine’s streams, where they vape, chat about Mr. Majewski’s campaign goals and take calls from listeners.
“He is exactly the type of person that we need to get in Washington, D.C., so that we can supplant these evil cabal criminal actors and actually run our own country,” Mr. Paine said on one stream.
Neither Mr. Paine nor Mr. Majewski responded to a request for comment.
Joan Donovan, a Harvard University researcher who studies disinformation and online extremism, said streamers who rely on their audience’s generosity to fund themselves felt pressured to continue raising the stakes.
“The incentive to lie, cheat, steal, hoax and scam is very high when the cash is easy to acquire,” she said.
BRUSSELS — The convicted Greek neo-Nazi Ioannis Lagos was stripped of his immunity as a member of the European Parliament on Tuesday, clearing the way for his extradition to Greece months after he was sentenced in a landmark trial.
Mr. Lagos, a leading member of the now-defunct criminal organization Golden Dawn, which formed a political party that in its heyday was the third largest in the Greek Parliament, told The New York Times in written comments earlier this year that he was planning to flee to a “European country” where his rights would be protected, but did not specify which.
On Tuesday, shortly after the waiving of his immunity was announced, he did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision by the European Parliament, announced Tuesday morning after a secret ballot held a day earlier, comes after months of delays of procedure over protocol and the Covid-19 pandemic.
and he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for running a criminal organization, but was protected until now by immunity afforded to members of the European Parliament.
Golden Dawn rose to prominence a decade ago, systematically targeting the European Union and migrants, especially Muslims, during the financial crisis that devastated Greece’s economy and society.
The trial in Greece lasted more than five years and is widely regarded as one of the most important cases against neo-Nazis in contemporary Europe, where forces of the far right became empowered during the financial crisis and further emboldened after the refugee crisis of 2015-2016, in some cases penetrating the mainstream political spectrum.
One of the leading members of the party, Christos Pappas, remains on the run after his conviction.
Mr. Lagos has been fighting to hold on to his immunity and avoid extradition to Greece to serve his sentence, while also claiming the case against him is political and that he’s being prosecuted for his political thoughts, not his deeds.
has come under criticism for taking months to deliberate on the waiver of Mr. Lagos’s immunity and for refusing to prioritize his case over other pending immunity cases of European lawmakers wanted in their home countries over smaller legal matters.
The Parliament’s relevant committee defended its pace and prioritization of cases as partly a matter of slowed-down deliberations because of the coronavirus outbreak and partly an effort to meticulously follow protocol to avoid any charges of bias.
The committee recommended the European Parliament waive Mr. Lagos’s immunity last week, in an anonymous vote of 22 to 2, and the full Parliament supported that decision in a vote by 658 to 25, with 10 abstentions.
The next step is for the Greek authorities to ask the authorities in Belgium, where the Parliament is based most of the time and Mr. Lagos is a resident, to arrest and extradite him.
It would then be up to Belgian courts to rule on the request, which may take months. The Brussels Public Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Should the Belgians block a request, Mr. Lagos would continue to sit in the European Parliament, but that seems highly unlikely.
JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was tasked by the president on Tuesday with trying to form a new coalition government, offering a possible new path for him to stay in office even as he stands trial on charges of corruption.
A political survivor and Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu has spent the last 12 years in office. But after four inconclusive elections in two years, he and his allies have failed to win enough support to ensure a parliamentary majority that could end the country’s political deadlock.
Mr. Netanyahu now has 28 days to try to cobble together a coalition that could command a majority of 61 in the 120-seat Parliament, with the possibility of an additional 14-day extension. If he fails, the president, Reuven Rivlin, could task another candidate or refer the matter of choosing a candidate to Parliament.
In last month’s election, Mr. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party emerged as the largest, with 30 seats. Together with his allies in the right-wing and religious camps, he has 52 seats. That falls short of a majority, but it is still more than any of his opponents managed to muster.
become a linchpin.
So far, Mr. Netanyahu’s partners on the far right have rejected that proposition. The other option is for Mr. Netanyahu to woo some defectors from the opposite camp.
“We will have to be creative,” said Danny Danon, a former Likud minister who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Everything will be on the table. People will have to be flexible,” he said, “including Netanyahu.”
Mr. Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has denied all wrongdoing.