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Italy’s far-right frontrunner party suspends candidate who praised Hitler

Calogero Pisano alluded to Nazi leader as a ‘great statesman’ in 2014 Facebook post; Brothers of Italy leader Georgia Meloni has worked to leave party’s neo-fascist roots behind

Calogero Pisano, of the far-right Brothers of Italy (FDI) party. (YouTube screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Calogero Pisano, of the far-right Brothers of Italy (FDI) party. (YouTube screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

ROME, Italy — A candidate for the far-right Brothers of Italy (FDI), which is tipped to come top in weekend elections, has been suspended for praising Hitler, the party said on Tuesday.

FDI leader Giorgia Meloni, who could lead Italy’s first post-war far-right government after Sunday’s vote, has sought to distance herself from her party’s neo-fascist roots without renouncing them entirely.

Calogero Pisano, the head of the FDI in Agrigento in Sicily and a member of the national leadership, has been “suspended with immediate effect,” the FDI said in a statement.

“[He] no longer represents the party at any level and is forbidden from using its logo,'” it added. Pisano has been summoned to appear before the party leadership, it added.

In 2014, Pisano posted on Facebook a photo of Meloni blazoned with the slogan “Italy Above All.”

Underneath he commented, “This reminds me of a great statesman from 70 years ago,” adding that he was not referring to Italy’s Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini but to a “German.”

Leader of the Italian far-right Brothers of Italy party Giorgia Meloni, addresses supporters during a rally as part of the campaign for general elections, in Piazza Duomo in Milan, Italy on September 11, 2022. (Piero Cruciatti/AFP)

He has published other comments supporting Fascism.

Peppe Provenzano, the deputy leader of the center-left Democratic Party, was the first to react after the Facebook post was brought to light by La Repubblica daily.

“Deep roots never freeze,” he tweeted, noting that Brothers of Italy continue to use in their logo the tricolor flame used by the Italian Social Movement (MSI), formed by supporters of Mussolini after World War II.

Ruth Dureghello, head of Rome’s Jewish community, said it was “unacceptable for someone who praises Hitler to sit in parliament.”

Meloni, who was a teenage activist with the MSI, says there is no place for Fascist nostalgia in her party.

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