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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 17:53 GMT
Mussolini loses vote ban appeal
Alessandra Mussolini
Ms Mussolini says she will not give up the fight
The grand-daughter of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini has lost an appeal against a ruling which bars her right-wing party from local elections.

A court first banned her party from running after it emerged that hundreds of signatures supporting her candidacy had allegedly been forged.

It is not clear whether Alessandra Mussolini will stop the hunger strike she started in protest on Monday.

"The system has won, but we will keep fighting," she said after the ruling.

Ms Mussolini's far-right party, Alternativa Sociale, had collected 3,500 signatures to be able to run in the central Lazio region, which includes Rome.

Some of the signatures were clearly doubtful, and several celebrities who appeared in the list later denied having signed.

Right-wing feud

Ms Mussolini alleges that the incumbent regional president of the Lazio region, Francesco Storace, sparked the investigation that has led to her exclusion from the ballots.

Mr Storace is a member of the rightwing National Alliance, which Ms Mussolini belonged to before falling out with party leader Gianfranco Fini after he openly distanced himself from Italy's fascist past.

Pundits believe that if allowed to run, Ms Mussolini might have taken two or three percent of the vote from him, putting his otherwise predictable re-election at risk.

"If she goes about her hunger strike as she has gone about getting signatures, then she is going to end up getting fatter," was Mr Storace's scathing comment after it emerged that the court had thrown out her appeal.

But the blonde politician, who spent the last five days in a camper van outside the court living on three cappuccinos a day, has already announced through her lawyers she will lodge another appeal with Italy's supreme administrative court.

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