The loud interruptions during a speech of Bosnia-born lawmaker Alma Zadic in Austria’s Parliament caused outrage as they were branded sexist and racist, the Der Standard Austrian paper reported on Tuesday.
Zadic, a lawmaker from the Green Party renegade List of Peter Pilz, had taken the floor on Tuesday to speak about protection of intelligence officials when a lawmaker from the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) interrupted her, yelling out “you are not in Bosnia, don’t mix this up.”
The interrupting lawmaker was identified as Johann Raedler, who later stated his comment was not meant to belittle Zadic and that he “had many positive connections to Bosnia,” Der Standard reported.
A second interruption during the same debate by radical right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) member Wolfgang Zanger, however, made the situation even worse, when he yelled “Alma, you are safe with me.”
FPÖ Secretary General Christian Hafenecker said he sees nothing sexist in the comment, the paper said.
“It’s an audacity and it’s not the first time my background was drawn into the discussion,” Zadic said, adding the comment was below the dignity of the institution.
The head of the Liste Peter Pilz party, Bruno Rossmann, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the comments were “severely sexist and racist” and demanded an apology before the next Parliament session on Wednesday.