Italy’s Nirenstein challenges far-rightists’ memberships in Parliamentary Assembly

(JTA) – Italian Jewish lawmaker Fiamma Nirenstein is leading a move to bar parliament members from far-right parties in Greece and Hungary from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

More than 30 lawmakers “stood up to express their support to the request” presented by Nirenstein on Jan. 21 during the opening of a Parliamentary Assembly session in Strasbourg, France, according to Nirenstein’s website.

Nirenstein, who announced last week that she was giving up politics and moving to Israel, challenged the credentials of Eleni Zaroulia  of Greece’s Golden Dawn party and Tamas Gaudy-Nagy of Hungary’s Jobbik party. She described both parties as “neo-fascist, racist and anti-Semitic.”

She said the positions expressed by the two lawmakers “are not compatible” with the Council of Europe’s statute, which says all members must “accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedom, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realization of the aim of the Council.” 

Nirenstein added, “I think we have opened here a fundamental reflection on a problem connected to the growth in Europe of neo-fascist parties and of a socially diffused culture of hate and racism. No democratic parliament should accept them."

The two lawmakers will remain in the Parliamentary Assembly while its Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs considers the challenges.

Reuters quoted  Assembly President Jean-Claude Mignon of France as opposing Nirenstein’s challenge.

“It is not the job of the Assembly to tell the Hungarians or the Greeks ‘You voted correctly’ or ‘You didn’t vote correctly,’ ” Reuters quoted Mignon as saying.
 

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