Giorgia Meloni: Italy’s First Female Prime Minister and Her Political Journey
Early Life and Post-Fascist Politics Of Giorgia Meloni
Born on January 15, 1977, in Rome, Italy, Giorgia Meloni has left an indelible mark on Italian politics. Raised by her mother in the working-class neighborhood of Garbatella, Meloni’s journey into politics began at a young age. At 15, she joined the Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano; MSI), a right-wing party rooted in the legacy of former fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Meloni’s early political career saw her openly praising Mussolini, and she became a prominent figure in post-fascist circles.
In 1998, Meloni was elected as a councillor in the provincial government of Rome, a position she held until 2002. Her political fortunes surged with the return of media magnate Silvio Berlusconi to power. The National Alliance (Alleanza Nazionale), the rebranded MSI, formed a coalition with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, leading to Meloni’s election to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006. At the age of 31, she became the youngest minister in postwar Italian political history, serving as Minister for Youth.
However, political turmoil and corruption scandals led to the collapse of Berlusconi’s government in 2011, followed by the split of the National Alliance in 2010.
Founding the Brothers of Italy
Despite these challenges, Giorgia Meloni remained a prominent political figure. In 2012, along with fellow National Alliance veterans Ignazio La Russa and Guido Crosetto, she co-founded the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia), a party inspired by Italy’s national anthem and bearing the tricolour flame emblem reminiscent of the MSI. The party’s platform embraced populism, Euroskepticism, and a stance against immigration and EU laws.
Meloni assumed leadership of the Brothers of Italy in 2014 and continued to shape its identity. Although her bid for mayor of Rome in 2016 ended in third place, the party’s performance in the 2018 general election marked a significant improvement. Meloni’s influence also extended to the European stage when she became president of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in 2020.
Rise to Prime Minister
In January 2021, following another government collapse, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella appointed Mario Draghi to lead a unity government. Meloni’s Brothers of Italy chose to remain in opposition, distancing themselves from their fascist origins. Meloni actively worked to rebrand the party, prohibiting references to fascism and extremist statements.
In the lead-up to the 2022 elections, Meloni’s party joined forces with right-wing parties, emphasizing a platform of “Italy and Italians first.” She downplayed Euroskeptic rhetoric and expressed support for Ukraine against Russian aggression. In the elections held on September 25, 2022, Meloni’s coalition secured a resounding victory, with the Brothers of Italy capturing 26 percent of the vote.
As Italy’s first female prime minister since World War II, Giorgia Meloni embarked on a historic journey, leading the country into a new political era.
Giorgia Meloni’s story is a testament to her resilience, adaptability, and ability to navigate the complex landscape of Italian politics, ultimately making history as Italy’s first female prime minister.