Giorgia Meloni sworn in as Italy’s first female prime minister | Politics News

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni was sworn in as Italy’s first female prime minister amid questions about the coalition partners’ stance towards Russia.

The 45-year-old leader re-read the swearing-in ceremony before Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Saturday after the Brotherhood of Italy party won more than 25% of the vote in snap elections at the end of September.

She pledged to act “in the national interest” – a promise later echoed by 24 of her ministers, six of whom are women.

The ceremony comes a day after Meloni along with her alliance partners – hardliner Matteo Salvini of the League party and television magnate of Forza Italia Silvio Berlusconi – reveal their cabinet. The government is expected to face confidence votes in parliament next week.

Antonio Tajani of Forza Italia is currently the country’s foreign minister. He has a long history with European institutions and was president of the European Parliament in 2017.

The economy ministry will be in the hands of Giancarlo Giorgetti of the Federation, who is considered relatively pro-European, and one of the most moderate among party members.

Another important ministry, the Ministry of Defense, will assign the co-founder and close advisor of Brothers of Italy to Meloni Guido Crosetto, a defense industry expert who heads the Federation of Aerospace Companies. Italian pillar.

“Across Europe, patriots are coming to power and with them comes a Europe of nations,” said the French far-right leader. Marine Le Penmentions Meloni and Salvini, on Twitter.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed a “major day for the European Right”.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stand with new government cabinet ministers during the swearing-in ceremony, at the Quirinale Presidential Palace in Rome, Italy
Members of the new government pose for a photo after the swearing-in ceremony at the Quirinale Presidential Palace in Rome on Saturday [Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters]

‘Never be a weak link’

The ceremony comes after days of tension in the ruling coalition and debate over who to appoint in key ministries. When the new parliament held its first session last week, a secret photograph of Berlusconi’s notes revealed a list of adjectives that described Meloni as “bossy, authoritarian, arrogant and repulsive”.

The stalemate was triggered by the leader of the Brotherhood of Italy refusing to designate a close ally of Berlusconi as justice minister. Just hours after the two appeared to have mended their relationship, an audio recording of Berlusconi was leaked to the media showing the October man bragging about his personal relationship. his with Russian President Vladimir Putin – including vodka gift exchange and red wine – and gave an explanation to members of his party about how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was responsible for the war.

The sound sent shockwaves across the alliance after Meloni made a concerted effort throughout the campaign to reassure Italy’s Western allies of its pro-NATO stance and its support for Ukraine in the conflict. conflict.

“Italy with us in government will never be the weak link in the West,” Meloni countered after the audio leak. “I intend to lead a government with a clear and unequivocal foreign policy line… Anyone who disagrees with this platform cannot be part of the government.”

But if she stands her ground, her coalition partners will be shaken, raising doubts about the country’s long-term standing.

“Foreign policy is certainly one of the most important aspects to address. Doubts about Italy’s position have continued for many years,” said Gregory Alegi, professor of history and politics at Luiss University. Five Star Movement’s past sympathies towards China and the openly pro-Russian stance of some other politicians.

Among them are Salvini and newly elected speaker of the House of Representatives, Lorenzo Fontana, who have repeatedly insisted on lifting sanctions against Moscow.

“The Russian-Filo curriculum of some actors of the new government is difficult to hide and it raises a question mark,” Alegi said.

Italy's new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni makes waves during the swearing-in ceremony at the Quirinale Presidential Palace, in Rome, Italy October 22, 2022.
New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni waves to the media before the swearing-in ceremony in Rome [Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters]

Political Fate

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, founded in 2012 on the ashes of a neo-fascist party, has rallied its supporters around an aggressive agenda against the European Union and financial markets. international government.

She often raises eyebrows among members of the bloc by affiliating with the far-right Spanish party Vox and Orban of Hungary – was recently accused by the EU of not respecting the rule of law.

But she softened that tone a lot as the prospect of joining the government drew near and Italy’s chronically ailing economy received millions of euros from the EU.

The country is also experiencing terrible inflation and an energy crisis exacerbated by war in Ukraine – factors that leave Meloni little room for radical change, observers say.

Tommaso Grossi, political analyst at the Center for European Policy, said: “Meloni knows her political fate is tied to the economy, and notes that she will not fight Brussels over crossing over budget or fiscal policies.

“She doesn’t want to be Italy’s Liz Truss,” said Alegi – referring to the former leader of the UK’s Conservative Party who made British history by only lasting 44 days in office after she sent markets into turmoil following a radical economic plan that was later reversed.


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