Acerbo, Giacomo


Acerbo, Giacomo
(1888–1969)
   First elected to Parliament in 1919 as a nationalist, Giacomo Acerbo soon switched to Benito Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista/National Fascist Party (PNF). In July 1921, he signed the so-called pact of pacification with the Partito Socialista Italiano/Italian Socialist Party (PSI) on behalf of the Fascist movement. In November 1922, he entered Mussolini’s first cabinet as undersecretary in the prime minister’s office. In this role, he was responsible for the notorious Acerbo Law of 1923, which guaranteed electoral victory for the Fascists and their allies in the elections of January 1924 by giving bonus seats to the party with a plurality.
   Acerbo was one of the leading Fascist officials tainted with the political responsibility for the murder of Giacomo Matteotti in 1924. He resigned his post, becoming deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, although he returned to government office in the 1930s as minister for agriculture, and as minister for finance in the last years of the regime. On 25 July 1943, he was one of the members of the Fascist Grand Council who voted to revoke Mussolini’s power to conduct the war. Regarded by the Fascist faithful as a traitor (he was condemned to death in the Republic of Salo), he was hardly looked upon with favor by Italian democrats. During the government of Ivanoe Bonomi, he was arrested and sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment. After the war, however, he was soon amnestied. Acerbo, who by profession was an agricultural economist, returned to university teaching. He died in Rome in 1969.
   See also Electoral Laws.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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