The late father of far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, who is set to become Italy's next prime minister, was sentenced to nine years in prison in Spain for drug trafficking, according to Majorcan press. Meloni's father Francesco abandoned his family when she was just two years old to move to the Canary Islands.
Meloni, 45, revealed in her 2021 autobiography "I Am Giorgia" that she stopped seeing him when she was 11. Meloni is now forming a coalition with Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi following her victory in the election on Sunday. Meloni also created history as the first woman to become Italy's prime minister, following her win earlier this week.
Meloni claimed in her autobiography that her father, an accountant-turned-restaurant entrepreneur, sent her a birthday telegram when she was 13. That was her last interaction with him before he died from cancer two years prior.
According to the reputable Majorcan newspaper Diario de Mallorca, Francesco was arrested attempting to smuggle 1,500 kilos of cannabis resin from Morocco on a French-flagged yacht a year earlier and received a nine-year prison sentence in September 1996.
The punishments for the other three detainees, who were reportedly three younger relatives with two stepchildren, were each said to be four years.
The narcotics arrests reportedly took place on September 25, 1995, following the discovery of cannabis resin aboard the yacht Cool Star. They diverted to Mahon port due to a storm at the time, which was also connected to the finding.
According to the BBC, he was given the harshest penalty out of the four people detained in connection with the drug stash after accepting responsibility and claiming he had deceived them into believing they were going on a pleasure cruise.
Local media state that Francesco, better known by his alias Franco, contested regional elections in Majorca twice after leaving prison: once in 2007 and once in 2011.
He has been labeled as a communist, despite the fact that his daughter is a far-right nationalist.
A Different Life
Meloni's views are however, completely different from her father's. Her campaign is centered on upholding traditional family values and uses the catchphrase "God, country, and family." In a statement to supporters in Rome in 2019 that quickly became famous, she proclaimed with pride, "I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am Christian."
According to France24, Meloni has a close relationship with her sister Arianna, who, like her, became interested in politics at a young age. Before her daughter Ginevra was born in 2016, Meloni referred to Arianna as "the most important person in my life."
"It was as if a television character had died."
Meloni, whose party Brothers of Italy came top in Sunday's general election, was born on Jan. 15, 1977 in Rome. In fact, it is reported that her mother influenced her political beliefs to the right in opposition to those of her left-wing father.
"I think Mussolini is a good politician. Whatever he did, he did for Italy," Meloni told French television at the age of 19 while campaigning for the far-right National Alliance.
In 2006, when she was 29 years old and joined the National Alliance, she was elected as the deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
In Silvio Berlusconi's fourth ministry, which took office following the 2008 elections, she served as the youth minister. The government dissolved in 2011, and Meloni, the youngest minister at age 31, remained in office.
Since establishing the Brothers of Italy in 2012, the Italian politician has gradually grown her vote totals while primarily supporting the opposition.
Meloni won 2 percent of the vote in the 2013 elections, but that number increased to 3.7 percent in the 2014 election for the European Parliament and 4.3 percent in the 2018 elections.