By Michael Day | The Independent
A card-carrying member of Italy's anti-immigration Northern League has been elected the country's first black mayor.
Sandy Cane, a 47-year-old Italian-American, becomes the mayor of the northern town of Viggiu, near Varese, east of Milan, after winning 30 per cent of votes cast by the town's 5,000 residents.
The translator and hotel director, who has a black American father and an Italian mother, voted for Barack Obama in the US presidential elections. She said there was no contradiction in a black woman representing the Italian anti-immigration party. "To tolerate illegal immigration above all harms those who enter our country with the desire to work and integrate themselves and to have a normal life," she said. "In America I voted for Obama, in Italy for Bossi."
Umberto Bossi, the rabble-rousing leader of the Northern League, is enjoying greater influence than ever in Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government after the party doubled its share of the vote to more than 10 per cent in this month's European elections.
Earlier this week it emerged that Mr Bossi had had discussions with Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, which does not accept non-whites as members.
Ms Cane said she knew of no racist or xenophobic members of her party, adding that all she wanted to do was "clean up this town which is beautiful but very dirty".
"I want to think about the elderly and the young," she said. She regarded as a "joke" suggestions by the Northern League secretary in Milan, Matteo Salvini, that the city should segregate train passengers by race.