Mussolini’s granddaughter tops polls for Rome local election

Voters wait at a polling station to vote in the municipal elections in Rome.
Voters wait at a polling station to vote in the municipal elections in Rome on October 3rd. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Rachele Mussolini, the granddaughter of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, has emerged as the most popular candidate in Rome city hall elections, near-final results showed on Wednesday.

With counting done in more than 97 percent of polling stations, Mussolini garnered more than 8,200 preference votes after standing for the hard-right Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) party.

The 47-year-old, who will be serving a second term as city councillor, insisted that her surname had nothing to do with her popularity.

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“The person prevails over their surname, however burdensome it is,” she told the La Repubblica newspaper, adding: “I have many left-wing friends.”

Mussolini’s late father, Romano, was a jazz pianist and brother-in-law to actress Sophia Loren. He was Benito Mussolini’s fourth child.

Other descendants of the Italian dictator have gone into politics, all for the right, including Rachele’s step-sister Alessandra Mussolini, a former member of the European Parliament.

Another relative, Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, the dictator’s great-grandson, also stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for Brothers of Italy in the 2019 European parliamentary elections.

“So many people want to put Mussolini on the ballot,” he reportedly said at the time.

Right-wing parties overall fared relatively badly in local elections in Italy on Sunday and Monday, losing mayoral races in key cities such as Milan, Naples and Bologna.

In Rome, a run-off is due to take place on October 17-18 between right-wing candidate Enrico Michetti, a talk radio host, and the centre-left’s Roberto Gualtieri, a former economy minister.

With current mayor Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement out, opinion polls suggest Gualtieri is favourite to win in two weeks’ time.

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