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Leftists outraged by Schmidt's comparison of Lafontaine to Hitler

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Leftists outraged by Schmidt's comparison of Lafontaine to Hitler
Lafontaine (l) and Schmidt with his ciggie. Photo: DPA
11:55 CEST+02:00
Members of Germany's hard-line socialist Left party on Monday attacked former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt for comparing their populist leader Oskar Lafontaine with Adolf Hitler and French far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“His words are monstrous,” deputy Left party leader Klaus Ernst told the Monday edition of the Passauer Neuen Presse, adding that Schmidt must be going “senile” in this old age. “The time has come for him not to be saying anything more.”

The 89-year-old Schmidt, widely respected beyond his Social Democratic Party for speaking his mind, on Sunday told Bild am Sonntag that Oskar Lafontaine – once head of the SPD and now co-leader of The Left – was a charismatic speaker similar to Hitler, whom he described as “Adolf Nazi.”

In the same interview, Schmidt drew parallels to Lafontaine and Le Pen, the controversial far-right leader of the Front National. “One of them is a leftist, the other a rightist. But Lafontaine and Le Pen are comparable populists just the same,” the former chancellor said.

Lafontaine is widely loathed by many in the SPD for what they consider his quitting as party leader in huff in 1999 and his subsequent decision to help build up the Left party, which has sapped support from the Social Democrats in recent years.

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