PD mayor in Duce furore

Maurizio Sguanci. Photo:Il Libero Quotidiano

FLORENCE - Maurizio Sguanci, the mayor of one of the five administrative districts of Florence and a representative of the Pd, has landed himself at the heart of a social-media storm after making controversial comments on Facebook regarding the country former fascist leader, Benito Mussolini. Mussolini ruled the country between 1922 and 1945, dismantling Italian democracy in favour of his own dictatorship. Sguanci commented on a friend's post arguing that 'Save the fact that Mussolini is the furthest person from me and my way of thinking, nobody did more in Italy than Mussolini did in 20 years.' The comment came with references to the Duce's reforms of education, industry, the railways and 'many other things.'

 The comment quickly drew responses online and further afield. One response wondered which 'history books [Sguanci] had studied?', continuing that 'Mussolini held up the economic development of this country' and that his reforms of areas in education also including the 'expulsion of all antifascist professors and then Jews.' The Pd later issued a statement calling Sguanci's comments 'serious and unacceptable.'

 Sguanci later underlined that he was 'nobody' was 'more antifascist than me.' 'That Mussolini was a criminal, or rather, one the worst criminals in history is more than well-founded. It is a fact... and from a proud ex-communist, now a democrat, I am a thousand miles from him and from his way thinking.' But his surprise that he would be accused of fascism failed to quieten the storm: 'You are not a fascist, you are only an idiot.'