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Do We Really Need Another Mussolini? Il Duce's Great-Grandson Enters Politics

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Fascist leader Benito Mussolini rose to power in Italy in the 1920s and led the country for two decades until he was ousted in 1943. He was executed, along with his mistress, by communist partisans in Milan in 1945.

Mussolini's great-grandson Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini is running as a candidate for the right-wing Brothers of Italy Party in next month's European elections.

Caio Mussolini, 51, was a naval officer for 15 years, then worked as an executive in Italy's largest defence contractor Finmeccanica before turning to politics.

His name translates from Italian as Gaius Julius Caesar, the full name of the emperor of ancient Rome.

Facebook cancelled Caio Mussolini's profile after receiving a stream of protests because of his surname but it was restored on Tuesday, 9 April, with apologies from the US social network.

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy Party, announced Mussolini's candidacy over the weekend.

"He is a professional, a serviceman, a patriot," Meloni.

Caio is the third member of the Mussolini family to enter politics since the war.

His second cousin, Alessandra Mussolini, now 56, was a member of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and the European Parliament between 2004 and 2014.

Earlier this week she called Canadian comedian Jim Carrey a "bastard" after he tweeted a drawing of her grandfather and his mistress, Clara Petacci, strung up in the main square in Milan after their summary execution in 1945.

Another cousin, Rachele Mussolini, is a member of Rome city council.

​Caio Mussolini told the right-wing newspaper Libero he would "never be ashamed of my family."

He denied he was a fascist and said "fascism died with Benito Mussolini."

"I see other dangers. The thought police, globalism, the dictatorship of political correctness, uncontrolled immigration a few small financial groups that control everything, Islamic extremism," Caio Mussolini told Libero.

​Mussolini came to power in 1922 and tried to recreate a Roman empire with colonies in Libya and Ethiopia but he sided with Adolf Hitler in 1939 and led his country into a disastrous war, which ended with Allied troops invading Italy.

Il Duce (The Leader) was ousted in 1943 but then formed the Salo Republic and fought on until April 1945, when he was captured and executed as he tried to execute to Franco's Spain, via Switzerland.

Neo-fascist parties have remained part of Italy's post-war political landscape, even though supporting or promoting fascism became a crime.