Mussolini’s Kids Fight Rome Elections

The New Observer
May 10, 2016

Two descendants of former Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini will run for seats in Rome’s city council next month, representing competing nationalist parties.

Rachele Mussolini, granddaughter of Benito, is on a list candidates supporting Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy,” FdI), while her half-sister Alessandra is heading the list for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (“Forward Italy,” FI) party.

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Rachele Mussolini at a FdI rally.

Several larger cities are due to elect mayors and local assemblies in a two-round vote on June 5 and 19, but the race in Rome is the most closely watched.

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Giorgia Meloni and Rachele Mussolini.

“I want to put forward Rachele because of who she is, not because of her surname. She is the mother of two babies, a professional, a university graduate who works part time,” Meloni said of Rachele.

The FdI is the successor party to three older parties: the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), which was formed in 1946 by former supporters of Benito Mussolini; the Alleanza Nazionale (“National Alliance,” AN,) which replaced the MSI in 1995, and a faction from the Il Popolo della Libertà (The People of Freedom, PdL).

The FdI keeps the logos of both the MSI and the AN within its own party logo to prevent any other groups using them.

Forza Italia is Berlusconi’s revival of an earlier party of the same name, active from 1994 to 2009, when it was merged with the Alleanza Nazionale (AN) and several minor parties to form the PdL. Berlusconi is a former prime minister of Italy, who was convicted of tax fraud in 2013, and banned from serving in any legislative office for six years.

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Alessandra Mussolini first entered politics in 1992 when she was elected to the Italian parliament for the MSI. She also joined the AN, but resigned from it to form her own party, but later joined the PdL, of which she is still a member. She has served as a member of the Italian senate for the PdL, and is currently a Member of the European Parliament for that party.

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Opinion polls indicate that the current leader in the Rome election is Virginia Raggi of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

Meloni; Forza Italia candidate, Alfio Marchini; and Roberto Giachetti, from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democrats, are running neck-and-neck to take second place and enter a run-off against Raggi.

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