the 'ethnic replacement' comments made by Lollobrigida have sparked outrage in Italy

April 19, 2023



(bbc) βΈ»

A close government ally of Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has attracted claims of white supremacy for saying Italians are at risk of "ethnic replacement". Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida said: "Italians are having fewer children, so we're replacing them with someone else." Elly Schlein, the leader of the opposition centre-Left Democratic Party, condemned his remarks as "disgusting" and said they were reminiscent of the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. Italy's low birth rate has been a key concern of Italy's right-wing government, which came to power in October 2022. Ms Meloni, who leads the Brothers of Italy party, had campaigned on a platform that included a pledge to help Italians have children. The birth-rate has come into sharper focus in recent weeks after it was announced that Italy had one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with fewer than 400,000 births in 2022. The phrase "ethnic replacement" used by Prime Minister Giorgia Lollobrigida has echoes of the so-called Great Replacement theory, a racist far-right conspiracy theory adopted by white supremacists around the world. Giorgia Meloni has not yet commented on Mr Lollobrigida's statement, but she has made similar remarks in the past. Since she became prime minister six months ago, Giorgia Meloni has won praise for her moderate stance on a variety of issues, but critics say recent events show the governing coalition in its true colours. Recently, the government instructed Milan's city council to stop registering the children of same-sex parents, and MPs are debating a bill to prosecute couples who go abroad to have a baby via surrogacy. Senator Speaker Ignazio La Russa came under fire in February for saying he would be disappointed if his son came out as gay.

Italia- Milan Meloni

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