PROFILE - Italy's 1st projected far-right prime minister since Mussolini: Giorgia Meloni
She is known for harshly criticizing French president, whom she accuses of irregular migration to Italy
Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, will be the country's "first female" and "first far-right" prime minister since fascist leader Benito Mussolini known for the harsh rhetoric of Italian politics.
Meloni, whose party Brothers of Italy came top in Sunday's general election, was born on Jan. 15, 1977 in Rome.
She grew up with her mother in Garbatella, a working-class region of Rome, after her parents separated when she was just 1 year old.
Her political views are said to have shifted to the right under the influence of her mother against her left-wing father.
"I think Mussolini is a good politician. Whatever he did, he did for Italy," Meloni told French television at the age of 19 while campaigning for the far-right National Alliance.
She became the deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies in 2006, when she entered the National Alliance at the age of 29.
She served as the youth minister in the fourth government led by Silvio Berlusconi, which was established after the 2008 elections. Meloni, the youngest minister at 31, held the post until the government collapsed in 2011.
The Italian politician, who founded the Brothers of Italy in 2012, has gradually increased her votes since then with mostly being in opposition.
While Meloni received 2% of the votes in the 2013 elections, it rose to 3.7% in the 2014 European Parliament election and 4.3% in the 2018 elections. After these elections, she began to harden her discourse around the themes of "God, Christianity, patriotism, and family."
She has always drew criticism with her harsh statements and been panned.
"I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian," is a slogan she told her supporters in a 2019 rally in Rome, which became viral on social media.
While Meloni frequently brings up the decrease in Italy's population and low birth rate, she also makes headlines with her opposing discourses on homosexuals and gender identity.
According to critics, the prime minister hopeful addressed two audiences: on the one hand, the international allies which she tried to reassure her support for defending Ukraine and solid pro-NATO approach, and on the other hand, the Italian people that she tried to lure with her anti-immigration and anti-LGBTQ views.
She is also known for being anti-drugs and anti-abortion, although she insists that abortion should not be banned.
In her statements, Meloni, 45, demands a naval blockade from the EU to stop mass migration and boats from North Africa, and shows a tough and challenging stance against abortion and LGBT people.
She also stands out with her anti-Muslim messages on her Twitter account.
"We (conservatives) are proud of our identities, of what we stand for. We live in an age where everything it stands for is under attack: Our individual freedom is under attack, our rights are under attack, the sovereignty of our nations is under attack, the prosperity and well-being of our families is under attack, our children's education is under attack," she said.
Meloni, who is firmly tied to Christian traditions, is also sensitive about the protection of Christians. She still continues to show this sensitivity with the Arabic letter "nun" in her Twitter profile.
It is stated that the Brothers of Italy leader put it to show her solidarity with Christians, as the letter symbolizes Christians and it is used by Daesh/ISIS to identify and persecute Christians.
Meloni does not hide her stance against Türkiye's EU membership either.
Remarks targeting France
"Shame on Emmanuel Macron's irresponsibility. They were the ones who bombed Libya. Because Italy’s special relations with Gaddafi in the field of energy worry them," Meloni said in December 2018.
Blaming the French president for the waves of migration Italy faces, Meloni drew attention to the fact that France continues to exploit Africa, prints and stamps currencies in 14 countries, and that child workers are employed in mines.
She stated that France extracts 30% of the uranium from Niger, which it uses in nuclear reactors, but 90% of Niger's population lives without electricity.
She said in a speech: "Don't lecture us, Macron! Because Africans are forced to leave their continent because of your policy. The solution is not for Africans to migrate to Europe, but for Africa to get rid of the Europeans. We do not agree to take lessons from you."
Far-right Brothers of Italy wins election with 26.2% of votes
In Sunday's election, Italians voted for the parliamentarians who would represent them in the Senate, the upper house with 200 seats, and the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house with 400 seats, in the 19th legislative term.
With 50.8 million eligible voters, the turnout was 63.9%. It was recorded "the lowest turnout" in the history of Italy’s general elections.
According to the results shared by the Interior Ministry, Meloni-led Brothers of Italy emerged as the winner with 26.2% of the votes.
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