Italian party to pay for babies named after Mussolini

ROME, Nov 25 (Reuters) - An Italian right-wing party is offering 1,500 euros ($1,930) to parents who name their babies after wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini or his wife Rachele, saying their names are under threat.

The MSI-Fiamma Tricolore party, the descendant of Mussolini’s fascist party, said the initiative in the poor, southern region of Basilicata was meant to keep alive names “at risk of extinction” and pay tribute to the movement’s roots.

“Benito and Rachele are nice names and I hope our original initiative will get people going,” party official Vincenzo Mancusi told Reuters.

The bonus -- intended to pay for baby clothes and food -- applies to babies born in 2009 in five villages where the birth rate is especially low, Mancusi said.

Mussolini ruled from 1922 to 1943 when he was ousted after leading Italy to ruin by entering World War Two as an ally of Germany. He was executed along with his mistress Claretta Petacci in 1945. His widow Rachele died in 1979.