Italian party expected to win election suspends candidate for praising Hitler

The far-right Brothers of Italy party, which is tipped to win the national elections at the weekend, has suspended one of its candidates today after he praised Adolf Hitler in online posts.

The party has roots that trace back to a neo-fascist group set up after World War Two.

However, party leader Giorgia Meloni, who is expected to be Italy‘s next prime minister, has made efforts to distance herself from the far-right and says her party is mainstream conservative.

Yet critics say fascist sympathisers still flourish in its ranks, made evident by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which this week published a social media comment that was originally posted eight years ago by party candidate Calogero Pisano.

In the comment, Pisano – standing for election on the island of Sicily- hailed Hitler as a “great statesman”.

In a 2016 post, he also praised someone for defining 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 Jewish community.

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 “From this moment on, Pisano no longer represents (the party) at any level,” it said in a statement.

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 at the vote on 25 September and lead an alliance of right-wing parties to victory.

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