Silvio Berlusconi, Umberto Bossi, Mariastella Gelmini, Rosy Bindi,: these are just some of the politicians who have been making news this year. But did you know that there is an Italian politician who has the genes of both Benito Mussolini and Sophia Loren? She is Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the dictator and daughter of his third son, Romano. Her mother is Sophia Loren’s sister, Anna Maria Scicolone.
Born on 30th December 1962, Alessandra Mussolini studied film management and, with the help of her famous aunt, became a film actress. During the 1980s she also had a brief singing career and worked as a glamour model. When asked about this experience she famously said,
“Every actress does topless and stuff like this – you have to.”
In 1989 Ms Mussolini married Mauro Floriani, a customs police officer. They have three children, one of whom is a son who took his mother’s surname after she battled legally to allow him to attach it to his father’s. [ In Italy married women retain their own surname but children take their father’s family name. ] Her surname, in fact, caused Ms Mussolini to leave the film industry in 1990, after a film producer asked her to change it.
Ms Mussolini was elected to Parliament as a member of the Movimento Sociale Italiano – Destra Nazionale [MSI- DN] in 1992. This neo-fascist party was dissolved by Gianfranco Fini in 1995 when he formed the Alleanza Nazionale [AN]. Ms Mussolini ‘s relationship with Fini was always somewhat problematic and she finally left the party after Fini, during a 2003 visit to Israel, apologised for fascism and Italy’s World War 11 axis role. Yet Ms Mussolini has defended Israel’s right to exist, declaring that, “The world should beg forgiveness of Israel”.
She went on to form her own party, Azione Sociale [AS] and also a far-right coalition group, Alternativa Sociale. Despite the far-right leanings of both the party and the group, Ms Mussolini has expressed progressive views on such issues as abortion, artificial insemination and gay rights. She has often been labelled a feminist and has even been called a “socialist” by her own party. The coalition was dissolved in 2006 and in 2007 Ms Mussolini’s party merged with Mr Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà [PdL].
Alessandra Mussolini has always been outspoken and even, at times, outrageous. In 2005 she was banned from regional elections for presenting fraudulent signatures. Her reaction was to inform the media that no party would be able to stand for election as all the lists were fraudulent. The Consiglio di Stato, which oversees public administration in Italy, overturned the local court’s decision and Ms Mussolini stood for election. In 2006 she was called a fascist by the transgender politician, Vladimir Luxuria and promptly responded,
“Meglio fascista che frocio” which one could loosely translate as “Better to be a fascist than a faggot”.
In November 2007, following the murder of an Italian woman by a Romanian man, Ms Mussolini caused the collapse of the far-right in the European Parliament by suggesting that all Romanians in Italy were criminals. And in 2008 she kicked the then Equal Opportunities Minister, Katia Bellillo, on TV.
The colourful politician could, understandably, be feeling rather beleaguered during these last days of 2009: In the recently released film “Francesca” , by the Romanian director Bobby Paunescu, she is called a “whore” in one scene. Ms Mussolini’s legal action to have the film banned in Italy was rejected by Rome’s Civil Court so she wrote to the Judge calling her an idiot. A few days ago Ms Mussolini was told that her grandfather’s blood and brain were on sale on ebay, though ebay announced that the offending advertisement was removed shortly after it appeared and the Policlinico Hospital in Milan, which performed the autopsy on Mussolini in 1945, said that all samples from the body initially kept there were destroyed in 1947. At the same time, the Milan newspaper Il Giornale, among others, was offered a video purporting to show Ms Mussolini having sexual relations with Roberto Fiore, the leader of the far-right Forza Nuova Party. Ms Mussolini made no comment on this at first but later told journalists that she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry about everything that was happening to her and her family.
Alessandra Mussolini is currently a Member of the Camera dei Deputati for Mr Berlusconi’s PdL party and is President of the Bicameral Commission for Childhood and Adolescence.