MP's ex says he uses racism to get votes

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Roberto Calderoli has faced calls for his resignation over his remarks. Photo: Vicenzo Pinto/AFP
10:31 CEST+02:00
The ex-wife of Roberto Calderoli, the Northern League MP who likened Italy's first black minister to an ape, has said his words were chosen purely to get votes.

“Unfortunately, I think it was for an electoral campaign,” Sabina Negri told Corriere della Sera.

“I remember going to Northern League rallies where they spoke of the ‘barbaric invasion’ from the south, and the people applauded,” she added.

Calderoli, a Northern League politician, said Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge reminded him of an 'orangutan' during a rally on July 14th.

The staunchly anti-immigrant politician has kept his position as vice president of the Italian Senate despite Prime Minister Enrico Letta and others calling for his resignation.

The senator also caused uproar in 2006 when he wore a t-shirt insulting the prophet Mohammed; 11 people were killed in protests which followed at the Italian embassy in Libya.

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Such actions on the part of Calderoli are all part of his character, Negri told Corriere.

“He’s a man of extremes - extreme in everything,” she said.

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