Abstract and Keywords
The neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) was born immediately after World War II, gathering former fascists militants. The MSI tried to present itself as a normal political party and was quite successful in the 1950s, becoming a sizeable force in southern Italy. However, in the 1960s and 1970s the party was marginalized, split by internal disagreements between those wanting to build a nationalist-conservative party and those who saw the party as a radical force. Despite internal disagreements the party slowly altered its image, although it maintained neo-fascist discourse. The collapse of the First Republic and the 1993 local elections enabled party leader Gianfranco Fini to reposition the party as a national-conservative force, allying with Silvio Berlusconi in the 1994 national elections. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Fini continued to polish the party’s moderate image, dropping neo-fascist discourse and admitting that fascism had been “an absolute evil.”
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