Italy's far-right leader compares female opponent to inflatable doll

The leader of an Italian far-right opposition party came under fire Monday after comparing the female speaker of the lower house of parliament - one of his chief political opponents - to an inflatable doll.

The incident involving Matteo Salvini took place at a Friday rally of the Northern League in a town some 70 kilometers east of Milan. The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, publicized it three days later.

In a video on her Facebook page, Salvini can be seen addressing a crowd, looking over his shoulder, pointing to an inflatable doll and saying: "There is a Boldrini lookalike here, I don't know if they have shown her before."

"Women are not dolls, and political battles should be based on arguments, for those who have any, not on insults," Boldrini commented.

Salvini's outburst was also criticized by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Maria Elena Boschi. She issued a statement dismissing it as a "squalid display of sexism."

A former spokeswoman for UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, elected for a leftist party, Boldrini is often a target of right-wing criticism for her defense of migrants' rights. The Northern League claims that Italy spends too much on migrants and too little on its citizens.

Speaking on the SkyTG24 news channel, Salvini stood by his remarks, turning down invitations to present an apology. "God forbid. It is Boldrini who should apologize to Italians, because she is racist towards them," he said.

Last update: Mon, 25/07/2016 - 19:00
Author: 

More from Europe

Dutch populist Wilders guilty of hate speech - but no penalty imposed

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech for leading a chant against Moroccans...

Vatican places migrants' boat in 2016 Christmas Nativity scene

The European migration crisis features at the centre of the Vatican's Christmas Nativity scene this year, in a...

Police say 98 clubs impacted in child abuse investigations

Police say 98 clubs are impacted and 83 potential suspects have been identified in allegations of non-recent child...

One in six workers in EU earns low wages, according to report

Nearly one in every six employees in the European Union is earning the lowest of wages, according to the European...

Ukraine moves to ban imports of Russian books

The import of Russian books into Ukraine would be sharply limited under new legislation passed in the Ukrainian...