Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Guardian: Cries of 'Duce! Duce!' salute Rome's new mayor

Italy's new parliament met for the first time yesterday with applause for Rome's mayor-elect, Gianni Alemanno, a day after followers celebrated his triumph with straight-arm salutes and fascist-era chants.

Alemanno, a former neo-fascist youth leader, took 54% of the vote in a run-off on Sunday and Monday, crushing his rival, Francesco Rutelli, a deputy prime minister in the last, centre-left government.

Silvio Berlusconi, who won a general election earlier this month, welcomed the latest evidence of Italy's leap to the right by declaring: "We are the new Falange." Although he took care to wrap his remark in a classical context, his choice of words appeared to be a nod and a wink to his most extreme supporters.

The original Falange - the word means "phalanx" - was the Spanish fascist party, founded in the 1930s, which supplied Francisco Franco's dictatorship with its ideological underpinning. Read more
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