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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 18:19 GMT
'Far-right' Eurovision singer dropped
The contest is televised across Europe
Belgium's candidate for the Eurovision Song Contest has been deselected after details emerged of her far-right political past.

Soetkin Collier is said to have taken part in pro-fascist events including a tribute to Nazi official Rudolf Hess during the 1990s.

Belgian state television deselected her after Prime Minister Guy Verhoftstadt was contacted by the country's security services.

Ms Collier reportedly acknowledged her past membership of a far-right student group, but denied being close to radical Flemish separatist party the Vlaams Blok.

TV officials said they had been unaware of her political leanings.

She and her band, Urban Trad, had been picked to represent Belgium at the contest in Latvia in May.

Earlier, host city Riga had threatened to slash funding for the show because of a spending row with the Latvian government.

But organisers have insisted it will go ahead as planned at the Skonto Hall on 24 May.



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