Who is Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first woman prime minister
Giorgia Meloni is set to become Italy’s first woman prime minister and will head the country’s first far right-led government since World War II. Here is everything you need to know about her.
Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Italian election, setting herself up to become the country’s first female prime minister at the head of the most right-wing government since World War II.
The Brothers of Italy campaigned in coalition with two allies, the League party and centre-right Forza Italia party, which gained some 8.7 per cent and 8.1 per cent, respectively.
The next Italian government will face a series of overlapping crises as the energy shortages triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuel rampant inflation and undermine growth.
Her main contender, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) led by Enrico Letta got 19 per cent of the votes and conceded defeat.
Giorgia Meloni was brought up by a single mother after her father abandoned them after her birth. At 15, she joined a local youth section of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), created by supporters of the disgraced fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
The MSI joined the National Alliance (AN) in the middle of the 1990s and then amalgamated with a mainstream conservative organisation founded by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
In 2012, Meloni and other members of the AN left the group and co-founded Brothers of Italy, named after the opening lines of the national anthem.
Meloni's formal entry into politics was at age 21, when she won her first local election. When she was awarded the youth ministry in Berlusconi's 2008 administration, she was also the country's youngest-ever minister at age 31.
A speech Meloni gave in 2019 helped to solidify the perception of her that would come to characterise her. "I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian, and you can't take that away from me," she told cheering supporters.
In 2020, she also took over the chairmanship of the European Conservatives and Reformists party, which includes, among others, the Polish ruling party, PiS.
Meloni headed into the election campaign with the populist slogan "Italy and Italian people first!". She has called for more family-friendly benefits, less European bureaucracy, low taxes and a halt to immigration.
She wants to renegotiate EU treaties, and her party rejects abortions and same-sex marriage. In terms of economic and foreign policy, the trained foreign language secretary is relatively inexperienced. She has spent most of her political career as a member of parliament and a party official.