Five things you should know about Italy's Giorgia Meloni

STORY: "In Europe they are a bit worried about Meloni and what will happen. What will happen? The fun will be over. What will happen is that Italy will be able to defend its international interests."

Five things you should know about Italy's Giorgia Meloni

1// She's the leader of the nationalist Brothers of Italy party

which traces its roots back to a neo-fascist group set up after World War Two

Meloni has looked to distance herself from the far-right

and says her party is mainstream conservative

But critics say fascist sympathizers still flourish in its ranks

2// She was brought up by a single mother in a working class district of Rome

after her father abandoned them following her birth

Meloni has made no attempt to lose her strong Roman accent

3// Meloni entered politics aged 15

She won her first local election at 21

At 31, she became Italy's youngest-ever minister

when she was given the youth portfolio in Silvio Berlusconi's government in 2008

4// Meloni’s right-wing alliance is promising lower taxes and early retirement

She appears to have abandoned her euroscepticism

Her consistent criticism of Vladimir Putin has won her brownie points in parts of the EU

even though many disagree with her views on LGBTQ rights and immigration

5// She is opposed to diversity quotas to boost female presence in parliament or the boardroom

saying women have to get to the top through merit

''I know that when you are a woman, you are often underestimated, but that can help you. And if I can do that, I think that we will finally understand also here in Italy that women can be very concrete, very fast and sometimes much honest. It's much (more) difficult for us to have compromises and I think that is what Italy needs now.''