Friday, September 30, 2022

Italy’s frontrunner party suspends candidate for praising Hitler

The Brothers of Italy party, expected to win national elections, suspended one of its candidates on Tuesday after he was found to have praised Hitler.

• September 20, 2022
Adolf Hitler rally Germany 1933 (Credit: Britannica.com)

The Brothers of Italy party, expected to win national elections, suspended one of its candidates on Tuesday after he was found to have praised Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in online posts.

Brothers of Italy traces its roots back to a neo-fascist group set up after World War II.

However, its leader Giorgia Meloni, expected to be Italy’s next prime minister, has looked to distance her from the far-right and said her party was mainstream conservative.

Critics, however, said fascist sympathisers still flourish in its ranks, and La Repubblica newspaper published a social media comment posted eight years ago by party candidate Calogero Pisano, hailing late Hitler as a “great statesman.”

Mr Pisano, who was standing for election on the island of Sicily, also in a 2016 post praised someone for defining Ms Meloni as a “modern fascist,” writing that Brothers of Italy had “never hidden its true ideals.”

The emergence of the posts drew anger from Italy’s Jews. 

“The idea that those who praise Hitler can sit in the next parliament is unacceptable,” Ruth Dureghello, head of the Jewish community in Rome, wrote on Twitter.

Responding to the controversy, Brothers of Italy said it was immediately suspending Mr Pisano. 

“From this moment on, Pisano no longer represents (the party) at any level,” it said in a statement.

Mr Pisano himself apologised. 

“Years ago, I wrote things that were profoundly wrong,” he said on Facebook, adding that he had removed the posts some time ago.

Brothers of Italy is widely expected to emerge as Italy’s largest single party in the September 25 vote and lead an alliance of right-wing parties to a comfortable victory. 

(Reuters/NAN)

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