Fascist Giorgia Meloni to lead Italy, could be out in 1 year, says historian

Written by Amy Ta, produced by Bennett Purser

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right party Brothers of Italy, holds a sign thanking voters in the Italian general election in Rome, Italy on Sept. 26, 2022. Credit: ROMA/IPA/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect.

Giorgia Meloni is likely to become Italy’s first female prime minister and the country’s first far-right leader since World War II. Her coalition won the most votes over the weekend. 

Meloni has long admired fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and been publicly anti-LGBTQ. Her party, the Brothers of Italy, has a platform that’s anti-immigration, anti-European Union, and anti-abortion. 

“She is calling herself a conservative. But she comes from a past of a hardcore Neo-fascist militancy. … She said Mussolini was a great politician. And she has been responsible for carrying forth the spirit of fascism into the party. In fact, the party logo has a flame in it. And she's insisted that that flame stay there, and that was the logo of the original Neo-fascist party,” explains Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University and author of the book “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.”

It’s worth looking at who Meloni has chosen as her governing partners, Ben-Ghiat notes: “The League of Salvini, and he [Matteo Salvini] called for mass cleansings of immigrants. And then the other partner is [Silvio] Berlusconi, who's a convicted criminal and one of the most pro-Putin figures in Europe. … He just released a video a few days ago … defending Putin's occupation into Ukraine.”

It’ll be interesting to see who she picks as the finance minister, as Italy has a high unemployment rate right now, Ben-Ghiat adds.

She points out that Meloni could be out as prime minister in a year or two.

“It will all depend on how much she's able to become a moderate, even if it's just a window dressing, and actually work with people. It depends [on] who she picks for the cabinet. If she picks centrists, or technocrats as they're called in Italy, for important [roles] … finance minister, etc., maybe she could last a little bit longer. But … it’s notoriously easy to sink a government in Italy, coalition partners can pull out.”



  • Ruth Ben-Ghiat - professor of history and Italian studies at New York University; author of the book “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present” - @ruthbenghiat