A far-right Italian party is offering 1,500 euros (£1,275) to parents who name their children after the fascist dictator Mussolini.
Bounty offered to parents who name children after Mussolini
By Nick Squires in Rome
The right-wing Movimento Sociale-Fiamma Tricolore will give the cash to parents who name their newborn sons Benito.
The parents of baby girls will not miss out – they will receive the same amount if they name their daughters Rachele, after Mussolini’s wife.
The party stipulates that the money must be used to buy baby clothes, cots and food.
The offer extends to an area of southern Italy in which the party is active, around the town of Potenza, in the poor southern region of Basilicata.
The money will go to babies that are born during the course of 2009.
The regional head of the party, Vicenzo Mancusi, said the offer was part of efforts to increase the birth rate of the region, which suffers from depopulation.
He denied the choice of names was overtly political. “It’s purely casual. They’re beautiful names.”
Fiamma Tricolore – or Tricolor Flame – is a reference to Italy’s national colours of green, white and red.
The party owes its origins to Mussolini’s fascist regime and the post-war neo-fascist party Movimento Sociale Italiana.
Mussolini became Italy’s prime minister in 1922, leading the country into war as Germany’s ally in 1940.
He was deposed three years later but rescued from prison by a daring German special forces raid.
In April 1945 he was captured while trying to flee the country by Italian partisans and executed near Lake Como.