ROME – The great-grandson of former Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, is a candidate for the European Parliament in the elections next month. He is a member of an Italian national-conservative opposition party, Brethren of Italy, most popular in the south of the country.
In a written interview with DPA, the 51-year-old politician said he was “proud” of his surname, although it was “often a burden” for him. Caio, however, denied that his campaign was inspired by any fascist nostalgia, even though he defends the slogan #EscribMussolini (a call for citizens to write his surname on the ballot, as the law says).
Earlier this month, members of two right-wing parties from Italy, Casa Pound and Forza Nuova, took part in protests in Torre Maura, a former district of Rome, blocking the transfer of 70 Roma minority people to a local reception center. According to Cesare Mussolini, to understand such incidents as an indicator of new fascism “is an exaggeration of propaganda on the left, which has no other arguments”.
He went on to say that in some areas “there is much fear” of the Roma and that this feeling “must be understood, not demonized.” Addressing the migratory problem more broadly, Cesare Mussolini pointed out that “in Italy, as in Germany,” migrants tend to increase crime statistics, in addition to making up a considerable share of the incarcerated numbers.
“They are statistics, which can not be disputed,” Mussolini said.
The BDI candidate was a Navy officer in the past, as well as a representative from the Middle East to Finmeccanica, an Italian defense company that is now known as Leonardo.
He self-classified as a “patriot” and admitted his admiration for politicians like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, “but also” German Chancellor Angela Merkel. To win a seat in the May 26 elections, he will need not only to receive a sufficient number of personal votes, but to hope that his party will overcome the national barrier clause (currently set at 4%).
If elected, he would be the second Mussolini to represent Italy, after his cousin Alessandra. Another member of his family, Rachele, is a councilor in Rome.