Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Berlusconi's Mussolini defence may be investigated

English
© ANSA

Rome, January 28 - A Roman politician laid a formal
complaint with prosecutors Monday against Silvio Berlusconi one
day after the ex-premier now seeking re-election made comments
defending Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
Gianfranco Mascia, a local candidate in the Lazio region
where Rome is based, asked prosecutors to investigate whether
Berlusconi's comments made a day earlier promoted Fascism and
violated a postwar ban.
"Today's initiative represents a reaction to
the...Berlusconi joke," said Mascia, who is campaigning in next
month's elections with the Civil Revolution party.
His complaint, which asks prosecutors to investigate
possible criminal charges, is supported by Antonio Ingroia,
leader of Civil Revolution at the national level, said Mascia.
Berlusconi set off a storm of controversy on Sunday when he
said the 1938 anti-Jewish racial laws were the "worst fault" of
the Fascist dictator, adding that in many other ways Mussolini
"did well".
To make matters worse, his comments came after he attended
a ceremony in Milan to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
There, the three-time Italian premier also said Mussolini
had no alternative but to enter the Second World War because
otherwise Germany, if victorious, would have dominated Europe
alone - an assertion many historians dispute.
Berlusconi also dozed during Sunday's ceremony.
In his defence Monday, Berlusconi insisted: "I have always
made it clear and unequivocal that the racial laws will always
be a stigma and I have always condemned any type of
dictatorship."
He added that he has been known as a "friend of Israel,"
and that Italians of good sense will understand his Sunday
remarks are now being twisted by his political opponents.
Yet it was not only his political critics who quickly
seized on his remarks, as other observers also said they were
deeply offended.
Italy's Jewish community expressed anger and some suggested
the comments were an attempt by Berlusconi to win support from
extreme right-wing supporters.
"It's no use swearing your friendship to the Jewish people
and to Israel (as Berlusconi has) if you then minimize
Mussolini's responsibility to please alliances with wings that
are the political heirs of Fascism," Riccardo Pacifici, the
leader of Rome's Jewish community, said in an interview
published in daily newspaper La Stampa on Monday.
And the European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs
Cecilia Malmstrom said Berlusconi's defence of Mussolini
"nurtured hate" and called on political leaders to oppose his
comments.

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