Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Elio Di Rupo

Elio Di Rupo (b. 18 July 1951) is a Belgian social-democratic politician of Italian heritage. He is the Prime Minister of Belgium, and leader of the Socialist Party (PS). He became leader on 6 December 2011 and heads the Di Rupo I Government. Elio Di Rupo is the first francophone to hold the office since Paul Vanden Boeynants in 1979, as well as the country's first socialist Prime Minister since Edmond Leburton left office in 1974.

Background and Early Life
Di Rupo is the son of two Italian immigrants. His father was born in San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore in the region of Abruzzo. Elio is the only child who was born in Belgium; his brothers and sisters were all born in Italy. When he was one year old, his father died in a car crash and his illiterate Roman Catholic mother was unable to raise all seven children. Because of financial reasons, three children were raised in the orphanage nearby.

Personal Life
Di Rupo describes himself as an "atheist, rationalist, and Free mason." He is fluent in three languages: Italian, French and English. He is taking classes to improve his Dutch due to it being Belgium's most widely spoken language.

Di Rupo came out as gay in 1996, and when confronted with the accusation that he was gay, he responded "Yes. So what?" He is the first openly gay man to be head of a national government in modern times.

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