Rome mayor set to name street after fascist

True to his Fascist roots, the newly elected Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno has said he intends naming a street in the city after Giorgio Almirante, the first leader of the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), the party that took up Fascism in 1946 where Mussolini had left off.

Mr Alemanno's party, Alleanza Nazionale, was a re-branding of MSI in the early 1990s by Gianfranco Fini to make it acceptable within mainstream Italian politics. The effort has proved a remarkable success, with Mr Fini positioning himself to step into Mr Berlusconi's shoes as eventual leader of the centre-right.

But Mr Alemanno sugared the pill by saying he also wanted to name streets after other late, great Italian political leaders – the Communist Enrico Berlinguer, the disgraced Socialist Bettino Craxi, and the Christian Democrat Amintore Fanfani.

"The fact that I talked about naming a street after Giorgio Almirante caused a sensation," said Mr Alemanno. "In Rome there is a street dedicated to Lenin, and I think it would be dutiful to dedicate one each to Almirante, Berlinguer, Craxi and Fanfani. We must send a clear signal to the citizens that the schemes of the First Republic [ the period from 1946 to the collapse of the major political parties in the early 1990s] are to be transcended."

Riccardo Pacifici, thepresident of Rome's Jewish community, said: "Almirante was complicit with a tyrannical regime which brought the persecution and extermination of Jews."