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On 29th October 1922 Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy However at this time his party the National Fascist Party occupied only 35 of 535 seats in the Italian Parliament a result of the May 1921 election and his first cabinet was a coalition containing only four fascists the remainder being Liberals and Catholics Why then in a relatively short space of time was he able to establish total power for himself and become a fascist dictator Having been made Prime Minister Mussolini made it known to parliament that he saw his main task as stabilising the economy Whether or not this was the whole truth is debatable it did however win him the vote of confidence from Parliament However he soon abused this support saying in November that he had 300000 blackshirts that could abolish the constitution but that at least for the present I do not wish to do so This intimidated parliament and he was able to get them to grant him emergency powers without having to disclose why he needed them This obviously gave him in relation to the size of his party a disproportionate amount of power and was the first step towards creating a fascist dictatorship Aware of the low number of Fascists in Parliament Mussolini first merged his party with the Nationalist giving him ten more seats He also by Spring 1923 had fired four cabinet ministers who were opposed to fascist brutality Furthermore he was able to tighten his grip over the Italian State by again intimidating politicians into passing the Acerbo Law during the debate armed blackshirts roamed around the chamber This dramatically decreased the democracy of the state ruling that the party who gains most votes at an election should receive by decree two thirds of the seats in
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