Giorgia Meloni, a prominent figure in Italian politics, has made history as Italy's first female prime minister. As the leader of the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia), a party with roots in neofascism, her ascent to the highest office marks a significant moment in Italian political history. Her estimated net worth is $28 million in 2023.
This article delves into Giorgia Meloni's life, career, and her journey to becoming Italy's prime minister.
Born on January 15, 1977, in Rome, Italy, Giorgia Meloni grew up in the working-class neighbourhood of Garbatella. Raised by her mother after her father's departure, she developed an early interest in politics. At the age of 15, she joined the Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano; MSI), a right-wing party with roots in the ideology of former fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Her active participation and vocal support for Mussolini in her youth positioned her within post-fascist political circles.
In 1998, Meloni was elected as a councillor in the provincial government of Rome, a position she held until 2002. Her political career gained momentum with the return of media magnate Silvio Berlusconi to power. She was elected to the Italian parliament's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, in 2006 and later became the youngest minister in postwar Italian political history when she assumed the youth portfolio in Berlusconi's cabinet.
Meloni's parliamentary career continued, and she took a strong stance against the austerity measures introduced by Mario Monti's technocratic government in 2011. In 2012, she co-founded the Brothers of Italy with Ignazio La Russa and Guido Crosetto, fellow National Alliance veterans. The party's platform aligned with populist, Euroskeptic movements and opposed immigration and EU supremacy.
Meloni's leadership skills shone as she was elected as the party's leader in 2014.
Giorgia Meloni ran for mayor of Rome in 2016 but did not qualify for the second-round runoff, finishing third. The 2018 general election saw the Brothers of Italy capture 4 per cent of the vote, a significant improvement from their 2013 performance.
In 2020, Meloni was named president of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) within the European Parliament, gaining recognition from European populist parties.
The collapse of Mario Draghi's unity government in 2022 led to snap elections. As Italy's major opposition figure, Meloni united right-wing parties around her, ultimately winning a resounding victory with the Brothers of Italy capturing 26 per cent of the vote.
On October 22, 2022, Giorgia Meloni made history as Italy's first female prime minister, leading Italy's first far-right government since World War II.
From 2015 to 2023, Giorgia Meloni was in a relationship with journalist Andrea Giambruno, with whom she has a daughter, Ginevra. In 2023, she ended the relationship due to Giambruno's inappropriate remarks on a TV program. She identifies as a Roman Catholic and values her Christian beliefs and traditional family values. Despite being unmarried to her child's father, she upholds these values.
While she has faced criticism for using the old Italian fascist slogan, "God, fatherland, and family," she has distanced herself from Italy's fascist past.
Meloni is a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, using his works to inspire her political career. She also admires British philosopher Roger Scruton and expresses a preference for the British Tory party.
Besides her native Italian, she is proficient in English, French, and Spanish. Forbes recognised her as the seventh most powerful woman in the world in December 2022.
Giorgia Meloni's journey from her early days in Garbatella to becoming Italy's prime minister is a testament to her resilience and leadership. Her political evolution, from post-fascist roots to leading a far-right government, showcases her ability to adapt and build coalitions. As Italy's first female prime minister, she will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the country's political landscape and the direction of its policies.