Fascists dissolve in tears tear

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The Independent Online
Fiuggi -The neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), founded 49 years ago by followers of Benito Mussolini, voted itself out of existence yesterday in a victory for the party leader, Gianfranco Fini.

Delegates at a congress declared the MSI's work complete and said it should give way to the National Alliance, the right-wing movement Mr Fini founded one year ago.

The National Alliance charter severs links with Fascist ideology and backs democracy and the free market. The near unanimous vote was a triumph for Mr Fini's battle to establish his democratic credentials. n "We have shown ourselves to be up to the task that history has set us," a satisfied Mr Fini, 43, told the 1,600 delegates.

A dose of nostalgia remained however, with many delegates in tears as the congress ended with a large number of them singing the old Fascist anthem, "Hymn to Rome".

The National Alliance won 13.5 per cent of votes in general elections held last March. A recent poll put its support at 17.5 per cent.