The National Alliance, formerly the Italian Social Movement, was unapologetically neo-fascist, formed by supporters of Benito Mussolini. Meloni herself openly admired the dictator as a youth, but later distanced herself from his brand of fascism — despite keeping the tricolor flame symbolizing the eternal fire on his tomb in the logo for the Brothers of Italy, the party she went on to co-found in 2012.
Now, the 45-year-old ultra-conservative unmarried mother looks likely to become Italy’s first female prime minister.
Her far-right Brothers of Italy party, which is polling ahead of the pack leading up to the September 25 general election, got just 4.5 percent of the vote in the last elections in 2018.
Her popularity has skyrocketed since then, in no small part because she has kept herself in the limelight with an active social media presence, and kept her party on message, never wavering from a conservative agenda that puts in question LGBT rights, abortion rights and immigration…