Giorgia Meloni, an ex-fan of Mussolini on the threshold of power in Italy

Giorgia Meloni, an ex-fan of Mussolini on the threshold of power in Italy

Favorite to become the first female head of government in the history of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, president of the Fratelli d’Italia (FDI) party, embodies a movement with post-fascist DNA that she strives to “de-demonize to finally gain power.

This 45-year-old Roman prances in the lead in the popularity polls and her training is credited with around 24% of the voting intentions in the legislative elections of September 25, ahead of the Democratic Party (PD, center-left).

In the 2018 legislative elections, FDI had to settle for just over 4% of the vote, but Ms. Meloni has since managed to catalyze on her behalf the dissatisfaction and frustration of the many Italians who say they are overwhelmed by the “diktat” of Brussels, the high cost of living and the precarious future of their children.

Its motto? “God, fatherland, family”. His priorities? Close the borders to protect Italy from “Islamization”, renegotiate European treaties so that Rome regains control of its destiny, fight against “LGBT lobbies” and the country’s “demographic winter”, whose average age is the highest in the industrialized world, just behind Japan.

Giorgia Meloni of the Fratelli d’Italia party launches her election campaign in Ancona on August 23, 2022 (AFP – Vincenzo PINTO)

On October 6, 2016 on Facebook, she denounced “the ethnic replacement underway in Italy”, in unison with other far-right European formations. “Meloni represents a point of reference for contestation, protest, disaffection,” notes Sofia Ventura, professor of political science at the University of Bologna.

– Mussolini? “A good politician” –

Giorgia Meloni at her campaign launch meeting in Ancona on August 23, 2022 (AFP - Vincenzo PINTO)
Giorgia Meloni at her campaign launch meeting in Ancona on August 23, 2022 (AFP – Vincenzo PINTO)

Meloni and his party are the heirs of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist party created after the Second World War.

At 19, she told the French channel France 3 that the dictator Benito Mussolini was “a good politician”.

If she has to spare a fringe of her base who claims to have this past, she also knows that to win, she must reassure the moderate wing of her political family. “If I was a fascist, I would say I’m a fascist,” she defended herself in a recent interview with British magazine The Spectator.

His account is “contradicted by the facts”, considers the center-left daily La Repubblica, which points the finger at part of the entourage and the base of the party who have remained sensitive to their roots.

In a consummate balancing act, she still recognizes today that Mussolini had “accomplished a lot”, without exonerating him from his “errors”: the anti-Jewish laws, the start of the war, authoritarianism. And to clarify: in its ranks, “there is no place for those nostalgic for fascism, nor for racism and anti-Semitism”.

– “I am Christian” –

Born in Rome on January 15, 1977, Giorgia Meloni became an activist at the age of 15 in student associations classified on the very right, while working as a babysitter or waitress.

In 1996, she became the head of a high school association, Azione Studentesca, whose emblem is the Celtic Cross.

In 2006, she became a deputy and vice-president of the chamber. Two years later, she was appointed Minister of Youth in the government of Silvio Berlusconi.

She then assiduously frequents the TV sets. Her youth, her temerity, her formulas make her a good media client. Until now jealous of her private life, she understands that, at least as much as the ideas, the personality of a young and pretty blonde woman in an Italy still very macho seduces.

“I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am Christian”, she launched to her supporters in 2019 in Rome during a fervent speech that became famous. Giorgia Meloni, who lives with a TV journalist, has a daughter born in 2006.

At the end of 2012, tired of the dissensions that gnaw on the right, she founded Fratelli d’Italia with other dissidents of Berlusconism, and chose to camp in opposition.

When Mario Draghi, former governor of the European Central Bank, formed a cabinet of national unity in February 2021 to get Italy out of the health and economic crisis, she refused to participate.

“Italy needs a free opposition,” she said then. It is in the name of this freedom, synonymous with sovereignty, that this Atlanticist denounces from the first day the aggression of Ukraine by Moscow.


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