Italian neo-fascists offer cash for naming babies after Mussolini
Italian neo-Fascist party has promised to pay 1,500 euros to parents who name their child after Italian WW2 Nazi commander Benito Mussolini or his wife Rachele. The party claims the money offers are a way to ensure that Italians do not forget their history. The money offers are made only in the southern part of Italy to families in poverty-stricken, depopulated villages. Through offering financial incentives, the party also hopes to encourage young people in these villages to have more children.
A neo-Fascist party in the far south of Italy has promised to give €1,500 (£1,280) to every family in five impoverished villages which names a baby born in 2009 after Benito Mussolini or his wife, Rachele.
Il Movimento sociale Fiamma Tricolore describes the initiative as a way "to confront the problem of the depopulation of the region". Vincenzo Mancusi, the party's regional secretary, said the money was to be used for the baby's essentials, such as milk, nappies and clothes. The five villages had been selected, he said, because of their small populations, low birth rate and the risk that they might soon die out.
The handouts, he said, are a way "to honour the profound roots of our party. We represent the real right, and we don't forget history."
Basilicata is one of the four poorest regions of Italy, with 23 per cent of households below the poverty line. Its oil extraction industry has done little to raise the standard of living in the countryside. The donation, admits Mr Mancusi, "will not resolve the problem of the depopulation of the region, but is a small gesture by a small party".
The name Benito fell out of fashion after Mussolini's demise. Rachele, originally a Jewish name, did not suffer the same fate, though neither figures among the top 100 names in Italy.