Italian party offers cash prizes for babies named after Mussolini

February 9th, 2009 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, Feb 8 (DPA) An Italian far-right party has claimed success in raising funds for a money prize it is offering to parents who name their babies after wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, or his wife Rachele.
“We’ve got 516,000 euros ($668,000), with donations coming in from all over the world,” MSI-Fiamma Tricolore official, Vincenzo Mancusi, told Milan-daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published Sunday.

Substantial donations from Carinthia - the state in Austria which was until recently governed by the late far-right leader Joerg Haider - France and Spain have been registered, Mancusi said.

“One woman from Madrid donated 16,000 euros and told us she is prepared to sell some of her assets to continue supporting our initiative,” he added.

The party appears to have been less successful in attracting parents who stand to receive 1,500 euros for registering their child with the required names.

According to Mancusi, since the November 2008, six couples have contacted the MSI-Fiamma Tricolore, with two saying they would adhere provided their prize money was devolved to charity. Eligible for the prize are couples who live in five municipalities in the southern Basilicata region where birthrates are exceptionally low.

The party says it is highlighting its fear that Italy’s population is threatened with extinction, while also paying homage to Mussolini whose ideas continue to influence the MSI-Fiamma Tricolore’s outlook.

Mussolini, who ruled Italy for two decades, was ousted in 1943 after leading the country to ruin by entering World War Two as an ally of Nazi Germany. He was executed along with his mistress Claretta Petacci in 1945. His widow Rachele died in 1979.

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