The great-grandson of Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has entered the political arena -- and wants to be known for more than just his infamous last name.
Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini – whose name also references one of ancient Rome’s most famous leaders – is running as a candidate for the far-right Brothers of Italy in the upcoming European Union elections.
The former submariner in the Italian navy would be the third descendant of the Italian dictator to hold public office.
“I share their ideas about retaking sovereignty, protecting our country and the family,” Mussolini told The Times of London on his party. “Why spend [$113] on a migrant then peanuts on pensioners?”
Benito Mussolini was Italy’s dictator for two decades until his summary execution in 1945. He remains popular with many Italians today who say he modernized the country before damaging his reputation some with racist laws and an alliance with Hitler.
"There were a lot of good things and some mistakes,” Caio Mussolini said.
The 50-year-old told the Times that he hopes to be judged by his experience, not his name. In addition to his time in the Italian navy, he was the Middle East representative for the country’s largest defense company before entering politics.
“My experience gives me a background in international relations,” he said.
The political debut of the latest Mussolini led to protests over the weekend and even included Facebook taking down his profile. The candidate said Tuesday his profile had been restored, with apologies.
He is not the only descendant of Il Duce to have joined the political arena. Rachele Mussolini, 44, a granddaughter, is a Rome city council member. Her stepsister, Alessandra Mussolini, 52, is an EU parliamentarian for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.