In a few hours, Europe may see for the second time the far right take power in a European country. After Sweden, Italy does not seem far from electing its first female prime minister, the head of the Italian far-right, Georgia Meloni. A child of divorced parents, since her teenage years she was part of far-right political youth, a journalist, a fan of Tolkien and “The Lord of the Rings”, the daughter of a tortured and depressed unemployed Sicilian mother, Anna, who raised her daughters alone, she also struggled the same as obesity and she overcame it, as she says, thanks to her involvement in sports.
A few years ago, in 2016, the short, blonde, blue-eyed Italian who has been elected to the Italian parliament since 2006 and has served as a minister, became a mother. Her daughter’s father, her partner, a savvy TV presenter on Berlusconi’s channels, Andrea Giabruno, born in Milan in 1981, with whom they are not married. This is Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Italian far-right, whom the business world supports, while Berlusconi and Salvini have made an electoral alliance with her.
Women see her as a part of themselves and opinion polls put her party, the “Brothers of Italy”, in first place with 24%, ahead of the Democratic Party (21%). What does she say about herself? In order that she is “woman, mother, Italian, Christian” and above all, she declares that she is “ready”. Giorgia Meloni, born in a comfortable house north of Rome in 1977, defends the so-called traditional family values and calls the LGBTI+ community a “lobby” mocking the theory of gender identity while opposing same-sex couples having children.
Meloni also rejects the practice of quotas to strengthen the presence of women in politics and business, arguing that women should rise to the top on their own merits, like herself. The father, Francesco, when Giorgia is 12 years old will leave the family in Rome to seek his fortune in the Canary Islands. Meloni will never forgive him and will choose not to see him again in her life. Meanwhile, before his departure, they have been forced to move to the poorest working-class districts in the south of the Italian capital. According to Italian reports, at the age of three, while playing with matches and candles with her sister, they set fire to their family home.
At 15 in the Youth of the Mussolini party
Her political concerns lead Georgia at the age of 15 to the Youth of the “Italian Social Movement” which politically houses the heirs of Benito Mussolini’s party, which was dissolved at the end of World War II. In 2006, Meloni at 29, will become the youngest vice-president of the Italian parliament and in 2008 the youngest minister, taking over the Ministry of Youth. In the meantime, she is completing her studies in tourism professions at a vocational school in Rome, the “Instituto Americo Vespucci” – although she claims to have a degree in languages - and works as a journalist. With her also journalist partner, who works for Berlusconi’s channel, she has had a daughter, 6-year-old Ginevra today.
Mussolini: “A good politician”
In France, observing the phenomenon and having recently seen the electoral contest that highlighted the French extreme right as a consolidated and powerful pole in the country, they remember that Meloni at 19 called Benito Mussolini “a good politician”. “I think Mussolini was a good politician. Everything he did, he did for Italy”, he declared in 1996 on French television, adding that his virtues “you don’t find in politicians” since his death.
Georgia, Frodo and the Hobbits
The New York Times, in its article about Meloni, makes a connection that a politician who declares herself “ready” to take over the government of Italy, is even alarming. As an active youth member of the post-fascist Italian Social Movement, she and her fellow activists used nicknames such as Frodo and The Hobbit, showing their love of The Lord of the Rings and other works by British author Tolkien. Their youthful love for the iconic work of epic fantasy was reflected in themed visits to schools dressed as Hobbits and their participation in events by the extremist folk band Compagnia dell’Anello, or Fellowship of the Ring. In Italy, the NYT notes, “The Lord of the Rings” was for half a century the central pillar on which the descendants of post-fascism reconstructed a hard-right identity, searching for a traditional mythical age for symbols, heroes and creation myths without fascist taboos.
“I believe that Tolkien could speak better than us about what conservatives believe,” Meloni, 45, said today, adding “I don’t consider The Lord of the Rings fantasy.”
Berlusconi, Salvini, Meloni: The company of Villa Grande
With another circle of friends, very powerful and much more able to bring about upheavals in the political scene, veteran Silvio Berlusconi and the exponent of the most extreme anti-immigration policy in the country, Matteo Salvini, Meloni also played a key role in the events that led to the attempt overthrow of the technocrat Prime Minister Mario Draghi and finally, the announcement of elections. As Politico had revealed, the meals at Villa Grande began last October, as Berlusconi himself had announced in a post on his personal Facebook page.
As he wrote, the appointments were weekly and were made with an eye to the presidential elections held in February 2022 and finally Mattarella remained, and in them “the center-right intends to move solidly and in time to prepare the next electoral and political appointments, with special attention to the election of the next President of the Republic”. Today, it will be judged whether the meals at the Villa Grande finally succeeded in bringing Giorgia Meloni to the position of Italy’s first prime minister.