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Politician once seen wearing Nazi armband is handed government post in Italy

Opposition lawmaker calls nomination of Galeazzo Bignami ‘an offense, an indecency against the constitution, history, memory and victims of the swastika’

Italy's new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (C) reacts during her first address to Senate, ahead of a confidence vote at Madama palace in Rome on October 26, 2022. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
Italy's new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (C) reacts during her first address to Senate, ahead of a confidence vote at Madama palace in Rome on October 26, 2022. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

ROME — The opposition in Italy has condemned the naming to government of a far-right deputy once photographed wearing a Nazi armband with a swastika.

Galeazzo Bignami, elected to parliament on the list of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), was named on Monday as deputy infrastructure minister.

The 47-year-old attorney was photographed in 2005 wearing a Nazi armband during a party.

In a Twitter post, opposition lawmaker Marco Furfaro denounced his nomination as “an offense, an indecency against the constitution, history, memory and victims of the swastika.”

“Shame on you Giorgia Meloni,” he added.

Bignami said the 2005 photo was taken “in a private context” for which “I have apologized more than once.”

Calling Nazi ideology “pure evil,” Bignami condemned “all form of totalitarianism and anti-democratic and anti-liberty expressions.”

Last month, far-right Meloni became Italy’s first woman to lead a government after her party came first in September parliamentary elections. Her government is the most right-wing to take office in Rome since World War II.

Her post-fascist Brothers of Italy party once advocated Italy leaving the eurozone, although it has dropped this demand.

Meloni’s coalition also includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia.

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