Giorgia Meloni

1 minute read
By Yasmeen Serhan

When Giorgia Meloni rose to power in Italy in 2022, becoming the country’s first female leader, many observers harbored fears about her far-right party and the impact it would have on Europe and the world. But two years on, she remains popular—not only in Italy, where she enjoys a 41% approval rating despite feeble economic growth, but also among Western leaders, many of whom have been cheered by her steadfast support for Ukraine (and, in particular, her ability to persuade leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban to back European funding to Kyiv).

Meloni hasn’t abandoned her right-wing politics completely. At home, her government has pursued policies that critics say quietly erode LGBTQ+ rights. At the E.U. level, she has been credited as the driving force behind the bloc’s approach to immigration—one that involves paying countries such as Egypt and Tunisia to keep would-be migrants from setting off. Should Europe’s right-wing bloc expand following the European Parliament elections in June, as polls project it will, Meloni may emerge as its natural figurehead.

Serhan is a TIME staff writer

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