The Daily Telegraph

Hitler was great leader, says Italian far-right candidate

- By Nick Squires in Rome

THE far-right Brothers of Italy party, which is expected to triumph in a general election this weekend, has suspended a candidate for describing Adolf Hitler as “a great statesman”.

Calogero Pisano, a party coordinato­r in Sicily, lauded the Nazi leader as an exemplary statesman and, in a separate declaratio­n a few years ago, said he was a fervent admirer of Vladimir Putin.

Brothers of Italy is the dominant partner in a Right-wing coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s League. Polls put it on course to win Sunday’s election with up to 45 per cent of the vote.

If that is the case, its leader, Giorgia Meloni, would be Italy’s first far-right leader since Benito Mussolini more than 70 years ago. The party has its origins in Italy’s post-war fascist move- ment and has in its official emblem a tri-coloured flame, which has fascist connotatio­ns.

Mr Pisano’s views were condemned by Brothers of Italy’s political opponents, civic leaders and members of the Italian Jewish community.

Ruth Dureghello, the head of the Jewish community in Rome, said: “There cannot be political space for anyone who legitimise­s hate.

“The idea that someone who hails Hitler could sit in the next parliament is unacceptab­le.”

Peppe Provenzano, from the centreleft Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter: “It’s true – deep roots never die.”

The politician was “suspended with immediate effect. He has been relieved from any role in the party,” the party said.

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