The granddaughter of former Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini has won a second term as city councillor in Rome, reportedly bringing in more votes than any other candidate.
Rachelle Mussolini belongs to the far-right political party Brothers of Italy, which has roots in postwar neofascism and, after formerly being somewhat of a fringe party, is rising in popularity.
This year, Mussolini racked in 8,200 votes, compared to only 657 in 2016. Support for Brothers of Italy has gone up, even in the left-leaning northern part of the country.
She says her success is because of her own efforts and not to her surname and infamous lineage.
“In the past, I got interviewed only because of my family name,” Rachele Mussolini told the press. “During my last term they started asking about the initiatives I promoted on the city council. I’ve worked hard.”
Rachelle was named after the fascist dictator’s first wife and has noted the challenges in being linked to such a notorious last name.
“At school they used to point at me, but then Rachelle emerged and the person prevails over a surname, however burdensome that surname is. I have many friends on the left and I am certain that one of them voted for me,” Mussolini said when speaking with the Italian publication La Repubblica.
When questioned on fascism, Mussolini declined to elaborate, but told Reuters that she is against its “glorification,” though she would “prefer to talk about Rome.”
Brothers of Italy’s rise has now apparently made the second-largest party in the country, sitting behind the Democratic Party. Even in left-wing strongholds such as Bologna, the neofascist party is gaining momentum.
The memory of Benito Mussolini lingers in Italy, including monuments in town squares, fascist architecture and Mussolini memorabilia for sale at some newsstands.
In addition, a number of Italians gather at the tyrant’s hometown every year to pay respects.
The dictator took power in 1922 and reformed Italy into a fascist power. During World War II, Mussolini joined the Axis Powers alongside Adolf Hitler before he was deposed and executed by the Italian people in 1945. He is now considered one of the most tyrannical leaders in modern times.