Italy: Candidate says immigration endangers 'our white race'

An Italian gubernatorial candidate has sparked outrage by saying Italy can't accept all immigrants who want to live in the country if "our white race" is to continue.

Political opponents condemned the comment by Attilio Fontana, who is running in the affluent Lombardy region with backing from a center-right alliance. Jewish leaders said it recalled anti-Semitic racial laws enacted during Benito Mussolini's dictatorship.

Fontana told Radio Padania, the mouthpiece of his anti-migrant League party, on Sunday that being unwilling to "accept all" immigrants isn't "xenophobic or racist," but logical. He said Italy needs to decide "if our white race, our society, must continue to exist or be canceled out."

League leader Matteo Salvini is running for premier in the March 4 election.

Fontana on Monday blamed his "white race" remark on an expressive "lapse."