Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's far-right League, is embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Tunisia after he accused a 17-year-old of being a drug dealer.
Out campaigning in the working class neighborhood of Pilastro in Bologna ahead of a crucial regional election at the weekend, Salvini rang the bell of a Tunisian family's home and asked: "Can you let me in? I'd like to ask you whether it's true you deal drugs in the neighborhood as we've been told?"
The incident, which was captured on film, quickly triggered a diplomatic incident, with the Tunisian ambassador to Italy writing to Senate Speaker Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati saying he was appalled by the "embarrassing conduct" of the League leader.
"Senator Salvini's conduct was a deplorable provocation without any respect for a private domicile by a public representative of Italy ... which has stigmatized the whole Tunisian community in Italy," Moez Sinaoui wrote.
Speaking to Italy's Radio Capital, the Tunisian parliament's deputy speaker, Osama Sghaier, said "Salvini's racist behavior is shameful and it undermines relations between Italy and Tunisia."
The teenager denied the allegations and said his father, who works for a delivery company, was deeply saddened by the episode. "I don't deal drugs, my dad works hard to provide for us and I go to school like everyone else my age."
The 17-year-old said his older brother, who no longer lives in the family home, had drug problems in the past but is now clean. "I will sue the woman who accused me and accompanied Salvini to our door," he said.
The League is expected to make major gains in the election in the region of Emilia-Romagna, which has been ruled by the left or center-left for 75 years.