An Italian-Israeli is vying, for the first time ever, for a seat in the Italian parliamentary elections, to be held on February 24th, as the representative of the country’s diaspora.

Sharon Nizza, a candidate for the Silvio Berlusconi’s Il Popolo della Libertà (The People of Freedom) party, is running for office with the goal of championing the cause of Italian citizens living abroad.

Born in Milan in 1983 to a Jewish family, Nizza has been closely involved with the Italian community in Israel since moving to the country in 2002. She has served as an aide to Italian politician Fiamma Nirenstein, with whom she worked for four years in the Chamber of Deputies and at the Foreign Affairs Committee.

When asked about the controversy surrounding Berlusconi’s remarks on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to the effect that Benito Mussolini did much good despite his regime’s anti-Jewish laws, Nizza said that she “wouldn’t use those words, especially in that context.”

“A regime denying fundamental freedoms to human beings is indefensible. Mussolini’s racial laws have been the peak of shame for the Italian people,” Nizza told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, noting, however, that she appreciated Berlusconi’s clarification regarding the importance of Holocaust Remembrance Day and his unequivocal commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself.