Rachele Mussolini, the granddaughter of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, has been elected to serve her second term in Rome’s city council.

Rachele Mussolini from Italy’s far-right Brothers of Italy party (Fratelli d'Italia) overtook the polls for Rome’s city council on October 6, as the most popular candidate with over 8,200 preference votes. 

Her popularity has risen considerably since the vote in 2016, when she received 657 votes.

Brothers of Italy has been associated with postwar neofascism in Italy. However, according to Italian newspaper La Republica, Rachele Mussolini sees no relation between her surname and her popularity.

In her own words, Rachele Mussolini told La Republica that "The person prevails over their surname, however burdensome it is."

The councilwoman also claimed that her father Romano, the fourth child of Benito Mussolini, had raised her to be tolerant, adding that she had “many left-wing friends.”

While stating that her family carries their surname with dignity, Rachele Mussolini simultaneously tried to dissociate the perception that her surname and the history of her family were behind her popularity in the polls. 

She will be serving as councilor in the city council of Rome for a second term.

Rachele Mussolini is not the only one in her family that is involved in politics. Her step-sister Alessandra Mussolini was once a member of the European Parliament and the Italian Senate. Alessandra too was from a right-wing party, namely the People of Freedom (Il Popolo della Liberta) that merged into Forza Italia.

Mussolini’s great-grandson, Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, had also been a candidate for the Brothers of Italy in the 2019 European Parliament elections, yet lost. At the time, he had told Italian newspaper Il Messaggero that "So many people want to put Mussolini on the ballot," while also suggesting the same argument as Rachele Mussolini, that he was not chosen for the name “Mussolini”. 

So far, the Brothers of Italy had been on the rise under the leadership of Giorgia Meloni. Nevertheless, right-wing parties have lost crucial towns like Bologna, Milan, and Naples during the local mayoral elections this past week.

Brothers of Italy has endorsed Enrico Michetti, lawyer and radio host, for the mayor of Rome. However, Michetti could not secure the fifty percent threshold and won thirty percent of the votes in the first round of voting.

He will face his opponent Roberto Gualtieri, the center-left candidate and former economy minister, again in mid-October for a run-off vote. Michetti had taken most votes in the first round against Gualtieri, who won twenty-seven percent of the votes. 

Opinion polls suggest right-wing candidate Michetti will once again prevail in the October vote.   

Source: TRTWorld and agencies