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Who is Giorgia Meloni, the new leader of Italy

Portrait of the woman who will lead Italy: passion for Tolkien, partner. daughter: identikit of the leader of Fratelli d'Italia who wants to be "a reference for all Italians".

"I want to unite Italy." Giorgia Meloni, president of the right-wing Fratelli d'Italia party, born on the ashes of Alleanza Nazionale, which was born on the ashes of the Italian Social Movement, declared at 2:40 this morning, making an initial statement on the data coming in from the polls, that if she is in government she will be a Prime Minister of all. A moderate speech, in tone and words, whose key word is "responsibility." But who is Giorgia Meloni, who has grown her party from 4 to 26 percent since 2018?

Her father's abandonment

As Giorgia Meloni herself recounted in her autobiographical book I am Giorgia. My Roots, My Ideas (Rizzoli) her father abandoned her mother, her and her sister Arianna when they were still small. "My mom faced many difficulties in life, she raised two daughters alone. To her I owe everything. Her judgment is one of the few I fear the most. She has been my guide," Meloni said. On her now-deceased father, however, she always had harsh words: "He left home when I was one year old. He lived in the Canary Islands and we would go to his place one, two weeks a year and that was it. When I was 11 years old, he gave a speech that you shouldn't give to a little girl, and I told him, 'I never want to see you again.' When he died I couldn't really feel an emotion, it was like he was a stranger." 

Childhood trauma was often cited by Meloni, who said she only overcame it years later: "It must have been all that pain, which I only admitted to myself years later, that made me so brave and eager for redemption, combative and reckless. The abandonment of a father makes you feel inadequate. As if you have to conquer everything with effort." 

Even her sister Arianna, her intimate spin doctor who on voting day posted sweet words for her sister ("If they only knew," she wrote, referring to Giorgia's crying and outbursts, which only she has experienced over the years) is her beacon in her career: "Only she can afford to tell me certain things. I listen and keep quiet," Meloni said.

Languages and non-graduation

Giorgia Meloni graduated from language high school and is fluent in English, French, and Spanish. She did not go on to college, and she spoke about this at one of the campaign rallies this election campaign, in Genoa: "I get teased because I did not graduate. I couldn't get a degree. Do you think I would have gotten a degree? I was supporting myself. I was studying, I was already doing politics, so many things," she said from the stage. "The other day at a rally there were these nice people from the social centers, these daddy's boys. One said I didn't even have a college degree. In Italy 17 percent of people are college graduates, many more could be. It's just that not everyone has the chance to be there and get 8-10 years at university and go to other people's demonstrations instead of getting a job."

Political career

Giorgia Meloni was born in Rome on January 15, 1977. Now 45, she became interested in politics as a teenager, and at only 19 became head of the student movement of Gianfranco Fini's fledgling party, Alleanza Nazionale. Between 1998 and 2000 she was active as a provincial councilor in Rome, and later became president of Azione Giovani. She entered Parliament in 2006, at age 29, as an MP, and was appointed vice president of the chamber of Montecitorio. Silvio Berlusconi then called her in 2008 to serve as minister of youth in his last government, which ended in 2011 with the spread crisis and the arrival of Mario Monti's technicians. After her experience in the Popolo della Libertà – that was the name of the center-right area – in 2012 with Ignazio La Russa and Guido Crosetto she founded the Fratelli d'Italia party, and became its president two years, while she returned to the Chamber as an MP in the 2013 elections. 

In 2016, she ran for mayor of Rome, getting 20.64 percent of the vote, but Virginia Raggi of the 5-Star Movement got over 35 percent and Roberto Giachetti of the PD got 24 percent, so Meloni did not make it past the first round. In the 2018 general election, Fratelli d'Italia emerges, as it does today, with a center-right coalition, getting 4 percent of the vote, behind Lega and Forza Italia. Consensus grows to 6.5 percent in 2019 European elections, and in 2020 she is elected president of the Party of European Conservatives and Reformists. 

A passion for Tolkien

As the New York Times recalled a few days before the vote, by Jason Horowitz, as a young girl Giorgia Meloni attended Hobbit Camps, gatherings in which young right-wingers used the language and symbols of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to construct a new right-wing narrative, free of the signs of fascism and post-fascism. Her sister Arianna also recalled Giorgia's passion for Tolkien, who often quotes the author in her speeches. In Horowitz's piece, she and other young right-wingers chose Middle-earth from Lord of the Rings "fighting against dragons, bears and other legendary creatures," to protect a homeland founded on ancient values and traditions. Meloni's frequenting of early chat rooms in the 1990s in which she discussed fantasy and politics is well known, and the choice to name her party's annual convention Atreju, after the protagonist of the fantasy novel (and movie) The Neverending Story, is no accident. For the closing of the campaign, actor Pino Insegno introduced her by making a quote from Lord of the Rings: "The day of defeat will come, but this is not it." Meloni also said that the election campaign has prevented her from watching on Amazon Prime The Rings of Power, the prequel series of the events of Frodo and Co.

The comrade who votes Left 

For the past seven years Giorgia Meloni has been the partner of Mediaset journalist Andrea Giambruno, who is four years younger than her and with whom she has a daughter, Ginevra, 6. Meloni has good-naturedly complained that she has the "enemy in the house" because Giambruno, originally from Milan, votes on the Left and the two have different views about, for example, the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. The couple lives in Rome and is unmarried. Giambruno, after high school science and a degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Milan, became a television journalist and author of various news programs, such as Mattino 5 and Studio Aperto. Very reserved, he appears in the photos Meloni posts on his social networks. 

Daughter Ginevra and love

Giorgia Meloni does not fail to mention and remember her daughter in many of her political arguments. "I am a mother" has also become a meme and a slogan taken up by everyone. In the midst of the election campaign, school started and 6-year-old Ginevra started first grade.Meloni shared a message to her daughter on social media to celebrate the first day of school. In the photo the child walks with her mother, who holds her hand while in the other carries the little one's backpack-trolley. A detail that does not go unnoticed. "Here you are, with your huge satchel, facing the first day of elementary school," Meloni writes. "We hold each other hand in hand as we meet our toughest challenges." Then the message of incitement, which is also a manifesto of empowerment that Meloni has been championing since the campaign began: "Remember what I told you: it won't be anger that gives you the strength to go on nor will it be ambition or ego or envy. Only love can give you the energy you need to never lower your head, to not go astray, to not prefer shortcuts. Do it with love and no one will stop you."

Written by Michael Zippo

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