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POLITICS

Mussolini’s great-grandson is standing for the EU elections in Italy

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's great-grandson plans to run in next month's European parliamentary elections on behalf of an Italian far-right party, local media reports.

Mussolini's great-grandson is standing for the EU elections in Italy
The ideology of dictator Benito Mussolini is still surprisingly popular - and tolerated - in Italy. Photo: Vituzzu/Wikicommons.

Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, a 50-year-old former submariner, aims to run as a candidate for the Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) party, Il Messaggero said.

“So many people want to put Mussolini on the ballot,” the paper quoted him as saying.

Italy could now end up with two Mussolinis in the European Parliament.

Caio Giulio Cesare is the first cousin once removed of Alessandra Mussolini, the dead fascist leader's granddaughter who has been an MEP since 2014.



Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Benito. Photo: AFP

Born in Argentina, Mussolini has no previous political experience but “obviously I've breathed politics my whole life,” he told the daily.

He described himself to Il Fatto Quotidiano as “a post-fascist who refers to those values in a non-ideological way”.

He said he thought he was chosen as a candidate not for his family name but for his first names, the Italian form of “Gaius Julius Caesar”, as well as his sense of duty and international experience.

READ ALSO: Far-right parties kick off campaigns for Europe election

If elected, he said he would “defend the national interest with all my actions and votes”, in line with the nationalist stance of Fratelli d'Italia.

The party won 4.4 percent of votes in last year's Italian national election, in which is ran as part of a right-wing bloc alongside Matteo Salvini's League party and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia.

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POLITICS

Italy’s government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

Italy's new government issued a decree on Thursday to continue sending weapons to Ukraine through 2023, continuing the previous administration's policy of support to Kyiv.

Italy's government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

The decree extends to December 31, 2023 an existing authorisation for “the transfer of military means, materials and equipment to the government authorities of Ukraine,” according to a government statement.

Since taking office in October, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly voiced her support for Kyiv while underlying the importance of the Atlantic alliance.

In her first speech to parliament, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party pledged to “continue to be a reliable partner of NATO in supporting Ukraine.”

Her predecessor Mario Draghi was a staunch supporter of Kyiv, but the issue of sending arms to Ukraine split the biggest party in parliament during his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.

That friction led to the early elections that brought Meloni to power.

Parliament now has 60 days to vote the decree into law.

READ ALSO: Outcry in Italy after Berlusconi defends Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Despite Meloni’s efforts to reassure her Western allies of Italy’s support for the EU’s and NATO’s Ukraine strategy, including sanctions on Russia, the close ties to Russia of her two coalition partners have come under scrutiny.

Both Matteo Salvini of the League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who leads Forza Italia, have long enjoyed warm relations with Russia.

In October, an audio tape of Berlusconi was leaked to the media in which the former premier described how he had received a birthday present of vodka from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the tape, he also expressed concerns about sending weapons and cash to Kyiv and appeared to blame the war on Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Berlusconi later issued a statement saying his personal position on Ukraine “does not deviate” from that of Italy and the EU.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Salvini, too, has come under fire for his relations with Moscow, including a report that he dined with Russia’s ambassador to Rome just days after that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Salvini, who has criticised EU sanctions as ineffective, has long admired Putin, even wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Russian leader’s face.

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