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Luigi Di Maio (Italian pronunciation: [luˈiːdʒi di ˈmaːjo]; 6 July 1986) is an Italian politician who is serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs since 5 September 2019. He previously served as Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies from 2018 to 2019, and as Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies in the XVII Italian legislature. He is the leader of the Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment party founded by Beppe Grillo.[1][2]

Luigi Di Maio
Luigi Di Maio 2019.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
5 September 2019
Prime MinisterGiuseppe Conte
Preceded byEnzo Moavero Milanesi
Deputy Prime Minister of Italy
In office
1 June 2018 – 5 September 2019
Serving with Matteo Salvini
Prime MinisterGiuseppe Conte
Preceded byAngelino Alfano (2014)
Succeeded byVacant
Minister of Economic Development
In office
1 June 2018 – 5 September 2019
Prime MinisterGiuseppe Conte
Preceded byCarlo Calenda
Succeeded byStefano Patuanelli
Minister of Labour and Social Policies
In office
1 June 2018 – 5 September 2019
Prime MinisterGiuseppe Conte
Preceded byGiuliano Poletti
Succeeded byNunzia Catalfo
Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
21 March 2013 – 22 March 2018
PresidentLaura Boldrini
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
15 March 2013
ConstituencyCampania 1
Leader of the Five Star Movement
Assumed office
23 September 2017
Preceded byBeppe Grillo
Personal details
Born (1986-07-06) 6 July 1986 (age 33)
Avellino, Italy
Political partyFive Star Movement

Early lifeEdit

Luigi Di Maio was born in Avellino, in 1986; he was the eldest of three brothers. His father Antonio was a small real estate entrepreneur and local councilor for the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), while his mother was a teacher of Italian and Latin.[3][4]

Di Maio attended the Liceo classico and then he enrolled at the University of Naples Federico II to study engineering, but subsequently changed to jurisprudence. He was among the founders of student societies at both faculties.[citation needed] Di Maio never graduated from university.[5][6]

In 2007, he was registered as an apprentice journalist, later briefly working as a webmaster and as a drinks seller (despite his claims of having been a steward) at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples.[7][8][9][10]

Political careerEdit

In 2007, Di Maio was among the founders of the political group "Friends of Beppe Grillo", the predecessors of the Five Star Movement (M5S), founded by the popular comedian in October 2009.[11]

In the 2013 election, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament. On 21 March 2013, he became the youngest Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies.[12][13]

On 12 July 2017, Di Maio was formally investigated for defamation following a complaint filed by Marika Cassimatis, former M5S mayoral candidate in Genoa,[14] while, on 28 July 2017, the journalist Elena Polidori filed a complaint against him also for defamation. Di Maio invoked his parliamentary immunity; he had previously criticized that privilege and pledged never to avail himself of it.[15]

In 2017, Beppe Grillo announced that he would campaign in the 2018 election, but he would not be the candidate for the position of Prime Minister. Di Maio was considered as the front runner and the most likely candidate for the premiership of Italy.[16]

Di Maio had been often labeled as the most pragmatic and "institutional", but also the least populist Five Star politician; he is the son of a member of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement and he is considered the leader of the moderate and "governmental" faction of the movement.[17][18] No other leading members of the M5S, such as Alessandro Di Battista, a politician and personal friend of Di Maio, or Roberto Fico, leader of the M5S left-wing faction and rival of Di Maio and Di Battista, would run for the office.[19]

Di Maio's opponents were the Senator Elena Fattori (Vice President of the 9th Permanent Senate Committee) and six other city councilors.[20] Many of them were almost unknown and this led to a lot of criticism from the Democratic Party, Lega Nord and Forza Italia,[21] which considered this ballot a false primary election, with the only aim of appointing Di Maio as M5S candidate without any real challenger.[22]

2018 general electionEdit

In September 2017 Di Maio was elected Prime Ministerial candidate and Political Head of the M5S, with more than 82% of the vote.[23]

In the 2018 general election, the M5S became the party with the largest number of votes and of parliamentary seats, while the centre-right alliance, in which Matteo Salvini's League emerged as the main political force, won a plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate and the centre-left coalition, led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, came third.[24] However, no political group or party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament.[25]

On 7 April, Di Maio made an appeal to the PD to "bury the hatchet" and consider a governing coalition with his party. [26]

On 7 May, President Mattarella held a third round of government formation talks, after which he formally confirmed the lack of any possible majority (M5S rejecting an alliance with the whole centre-right coalition, PD rejecting an alliance with both M5S and the centre-right coalition, and the League's Matteo Salvini refusing to start a government with M5S but without Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, whose presence in the government was explicitly vetoed by M5S's leader Luigi Di Maio); on the same circumstance, he announced his intention to soon appoint a "neutral government" (irrespective of M5S and League's refusal to support such an option) to take over from the Gentiloni Cabinet which was considered unable to lead Italy into a second consecutive election as it was representing a majority from a past legislature, and offering an early election in July (on what it would be the very first time for a summer general election in Italy) as a realistic option to take into consideration due to the deadlock situation.[27] The Lega and M5S agreed to hold new elections on 8 July, an option that was however rejected by all other parties.[28][29][30]

On 9 May, after a day of rumours surfaced, both Di Maio and Salvini officially requested President Mattarella to give them 24 more hours to strike a government agreement between the two parties.[31] Later the same day, in the evening, Silvio Berlusconi publicly announced Forza Italia would not support a M5S-League government on a vote of confidence, but he would still maintain the centre-right alliance nonetheless, thus opening the doors to a possible majority government between the two parties.[32]

On 13 May, 5 Star Movement and League reached an agreement in principle on a government program, likely clearing the way for the formation of a governing coalition between the two parties, but could not find an agreement regarding the members of a government cabinet, most importantly the prime minister. M5S and League leaders met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on 14 May to guide the formation of a new government.[33] On their meeting with President Mattarella, both parties asked for an additional week of negotiations to agree on a detailed government program and a prime minister to lead the joint government. Both M5S and the League announced their intention to ask their respective members to vote on the government agreement by the weekend.

Di Maio at the Quirinal Palace in April 2018.

On 21 May 2018, Di Maio and Salvini proposed the private law professor Giuseppe Conte, for the role of Prime Minister in the 2018 Italian government,[34][35][36] despite reports in the Italian press suggesting that President Mattarella still had significant reservations about the direction of the new government.[37] On 23 May 2018, Conte was invited to the Quirinal Palace to receive the presidential mandate to form a new cabinet.[38][39] In the traditional statement after the appointment, Conte said that he would be the “defense lawyer of Italian people”.[40]

However, Conte renounced to his office on 27 May due to contrasts between Salvini and President Mattarella. In fact, Salvini proposed the university professor Paolo Savona as Minister of Economy and Finances, but Mattarella strongly opposed him, considering Savona too Eurosceptic and anti-German.[41] In his speech after Conte's resignation, Mattarella declared that the two parties wanted to bring Italy out of the Eurozone, and as the guarantor of Italian Constitution and country's interest and stability he could not allow this.[42][43]

On the following day, Mattarella gave Carlo Cottarelli, a former director of the International Monetary Fund, the task of forming a new government.[44] On 28 May 2018, the Democratic Party (PD) announced that it would abstain from voting the confidence to Cottarelli, while the Five Star Movement and the center-right parties Forza Italia (FI), Brothers of Italy (FdI) and the League announced their vote against.[45][46]

Cottarelli was expected to submit his list of ministers for approval to President Mattarella on 29 May. However, on 29 May and 30 May he held only informal consultations with the President, waiting for the formation of a “political government”.[47][48] Meanwhile, Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio announced their willingness to restart the negotiations to form a political government, Giorgia Meloni, leader of FdI, gave her support to the initiative.[47][48][49] On May 31, M5S and the League reached an agreement to form a new government, without Paolo Savona as finance minister (he became minister of European affairs instead), and with Conte at its head.[50][51]

Deputy Prime MinisterEdit

Di Maio was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies on 1 June 2018.

Foreign MinisterEdit

Di Maio with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October 2019

Di Maio was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs on 5 September 2019.

Electoral historyEdit

2018 general election (C): Acerra
Candidate Party Votes %
Luigi Di Maio Five Star Movement 95,219 63.4
Vittorio Sgarbi Centre-right coalition 30,596 20.4
Antonio Falcone Centre-left coalition 18,018 12.0
Others 6,315 4.1
Total 150,148 100.0


  1. ^ "Italy Challenges the Postwar Order - Alessandra Bocchi". First Things. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Di Maio candidato premier M5S con quasi 31mila voti". Il Sole 24 ORE. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
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External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Beppe Grillo
Leader of the Five Star Movement
Political offices
Preceded by
Angelino Alfano
Deputy Prime Minister of Italy
Served alongside: Matteo Salvini
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Carlo Calenda
Minister of Economic Development
Succeeded by
Stefano Patuanelli
Preceded by
Giuliano Poletti
Minister of Labour and Social Policies
Succeeded by
Nunzia Catalfo
Preceded by
Enzo Moavero Milanesi
Minister of Foreign Affairs