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Far-right leaning tower of pisa

Italy predicted to elect far-right leader Giorgia Meloni

Italy could make history on Sunday by electing Giorgia Meloni to be its first woman prime minister and head of the most conservative Italian government since Benito Mussolini. Meloni, leader of far-right party Brothers of Italy, is currently leading in the polls as the general election draws closer. 

Brothers of Italy evolved from a post-fascist lineage that began after Mussolini's death, reports The Washington Post. Meloni is running to replace outgoing centrist Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who resigned earlier this year after being unable to salvage his coalition. Meloni was the only party chief to refuse to join Draghi's coalition, causing a jump in her popularity, Reuters reports. 

Meloni's conservative opinions include a push to "blockade the Mediterranean against undocumented immigrants and defend a traditional family identity she says is under attack," among others, the Post summarizes. Her rise also represents a bittersweet moment for women's rights activists, who are both excited by the prospect of a female leader but terrified Meloni might set the movement back. For example, Meloni opposes "pink quotas," an Italian policy intended to ensure a certain percentage of women are present in politics and boardrooms. Many activists see the quotas as key to affording women equal access and opportunity, says The New York Times

"I dream of a nation where people who have had to lower their heads for many years, pretending that they have different ideas so as not to be ostracized, can now say what they think," Meloni said at a rally last week.