Italy’s far-right leader, who has also formed a coalition government, is now the country’s first female prime minister.
Officials from the presidential palace announced that Giorgia Meloni will swear in her cabinet and Giorgia Meloni on Saturday. This is the first far-right-led government to be established in Italy since the Second World War.
Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy – a party with neofascist roots – was the top vote-getter at Italy’s last month’s national election, even though it didn’t win enough votes for government.
Instead, Ms Meloni was forced to look to her two main, often troubled, right-wing allies, Matteo Salvini, and ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Three-time Premier, Mr Berlusconi was upset at Meloni’s victory. In an election with record low turnout, the Brothers of Italy won 26% while Berlusconi’s Forza Italy and the anti-migrant League of Salvini took just over 8% each.
Just hours before the formation of the new government was announced, Ms Meloni (45), a career politician, said to reporters that she had asked President Sergio Mattarella unanimously to grant her the mandate to govern.
The President Mattarella, in turn, expressed his satisfaction at the formation of the government in such a short time following the 25 September elections. In 2018, it took three months to form a new coalition after the 2018 election.
In that election, Ms Meloni had just over 4%.
The Brothers of Italy’s rapid rise was capped by their obtaining the premiership. The party was founded by Meloni in December 2012. It was initially considered a fringe movement of the right.
Cabinet already divided in Ukraine
Italy and many other European countries are facing rising energy costs, as well as the fallout from Russia’s war with Ukraine. This could impact gas supplies this winter, and continue to increase household and business power bills.
Both Mr Berlusconi, Mr Salvini, and Ms Meloni have been longtime admirers Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Ms Meloni backs Ukraine’s defense against Russian invasion.
These differences could pose challenges to their governing coalition.
The former premier expressed sympathy with Putin’s motives for invading Ukraine during a meeting this week. The conversation was recorded and leaked to LaPresse, an Italian news agency. It also showed Mr Berlusconi boasting that Putin had given him bottles vodka for his 86th Birthday last month. He also gave the Russian leader bottles wine as the two exchanged sweetly written notes.
A new minister declares same-sex marriage “the end of mankind”
After Mr Salvini, Mr Berlusconi, and Giuseppe Conte, leader of populist 5-Star Movement, refused to support the government in a confidence election, the country’s pandemic unity coalition fell apart in July. This prompted President Mattarella, to disband parliament and open the door for an election six months earlier.
On Thursday, President Mattarella met with opposition leaders. They raised concerns that Ms Meloni who has a “God’s homeland, family” agenda would seek to undermine abortion rights and reverse rights like same-sex civil marriages.
Ms Meloni approached Eugenia Maria Rocella, a conservative Catholic, on Friday to become her minister for family, equal opportunities, and birth rates.
Ms. Meloni was at a 2018 Rome event where Ms. Roccella vowed to oppose Italy’s law allowing same-sex civil unions. She called same-sex marriage “the death of humanity”.