Results from elections Sunday suggest that Giorgia Meloni will likely become Italy’s first woman prime minister.
Meloni, age 45, is the leader of Brothers of Italy, a conservative political party.
An alliance of conservative political parties won the most votes in the election. Brothers of Italy is a member of the alliance. It won the most votes -- almost 26 percent -- of any party in the election.
Meloni grew up in a working-class area of Rome. Her father left the family when she was born, and she was raised by her mother. She won her first local election at age 21 and, in 2008, became the youngest-ever minister in Italy at age 31. She was a member of a conservative group created by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi before she left it and co-founded Brothers of Italy in 2012.
Meloni compares Brothers of Italy to the Conservative Party in Britain and the Republican Party in the U.S. The Italian press has compared Meloni to Margaret Thatcher, who was the first woman prime minister of Britain.
Meloni supports supplying Ukraine with weapons to defend against Russia’s invasion. On migration, she said she wants a naval blockade to stop migrant boats from leaving North Africa. She has said she might place same-sex marriage under review. Meloni says women have to get to the top by merit, and she is against rules that would say how many women should be in parliament.
Italy’s election system rewards alliances. Votes for each member of the alliance are added together, while parties who are not in an alliance have their votes counted individually.
At age 15, Meloni joined a local section of the Italian Socialist Movement, or MSI for short. MSI was created in 1946 by supporters of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. In the 1990s, MSI joined a more central conservative group under Berlusconi.
Meloni said the conservative Italian Right has clearly condemned the anti-Jewish laws and suppression of democracy that were part of fascism.
Supporters in Spain, France, and Hungary all praised Meloni’s election. Enrico Letta, leader of Italy’s Democratic Party, said, “today is a sad day for Italy and Europe, tough days are ahead of us."
In a victory speech Monday, Meloni said, “If we are called to govern this nation, we will do it for everyone, we will do it for all Italians and we will do it with the aim of uniting the people.”
Meloni is not expected to become prime minister until the end of October.
I’m Andrew Smith.
Andrew Smith adapted this story for VOA Learning English from reporting by the Associated Press and Reuters.
Words in This Story
co-found -v. to create or form an organization with one other person
migration –n. moving from one country to another usually in search of work
merit –n. a quality that is considered good or valuable
reward –n. money, or some other thing that is offered and give to someone who has done something that is generally considered good
condemn –n. to denounce; to say in a clear way that something is bad or wrong
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