Brothers of Italy

Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni forms new government

The Brothers of Italy party, which has fascist roots, gained the most votes in last month’s national election.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 21st 2022, 10:52 PM

GIOGIA MELONI HAS formed Italy’s new ruling coalition, giving the country its first far right-led government since the end of the Second World War and becoming the first woman to serve as the country’s leader.

A presidential palace official announced that Meloni and her Cabinet would be sworn in tomorrow.

Meloni’s party Brothers of Italy, which has fascist roots, secured the most votes in Italy’s national election last month.

A few hours before the new government’s formation was announced, Meloni, 45, a career politician, told reporters that she and her allies had unanimously asked President Sergio Mattarella to give her the mandate to govern.

embedded269386646 Brothers of Italy’s leader Giorgia Meloni, and party member Francesco Lollobrigida, left, arrive at the Quirinale Presidential Palace for a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella AP AP

Her main coalition allies, former premier Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini, are longtime admirers of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, though Meloni has backed Ukraine in its defence against the Russian invasion.

embedded269387486 Forza Italia president Silvio Berlusconi waves to press as he leaves the Quirinale Presidential Palace AP AP

Flanked by Berlusconi and Salvini, the 45-year-old said on the steps of the Quirinal Presidential Palace in Rome: “We have indicated myself as the person who should be mandated to form the new government.

“We are ready and we want to move forward in the shortest possible time.”

Meloni cited urgent problems “at both national and international level” – apparent references to soaring energy prices afflicting households and businesses and the war in Ukraine.

Forza Italia president Berlusconi and League leader Salvini stayed silent during Meloni’s brief remarks to reporters.

Three-time premier Berlusconi has been chafing over the election victory by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party in the past month.

He recently derided Meloni as “arrogant” in written comments.

Earlier this week in a meeting with his legislators, Berlusconi expressed sympathy for Putin’s motivation for invading Ukraine.

embedded269387393 Berlusconi poses with Meloni and Salvini, Licia Ronzulli and other centre-right party members AP AP

In response to Berlusconi’s comments that were also derogatory about Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, Meloni insisted that anyone joining her government must be solidly in sync with the West in opposing Putin’s war.

Salvini has at times also questioned the wisdom of tough Western sanctions against Russia.

A fellow legislator in Salvini’s League party who was recently elected president of the lower Chamber of Deputies has publicly expressed doubts about continuing the measures.

Outgoing premier Mario Draghi’s national pandemic unity coalition collapsed in July, after Salvini, Berlusconi and populist 5-Star Movement leader Giuseppe Conte refused to back his government in a confidence vote.

That prompted Mattarella to dissolve parliament and pave the way for elections some six months early.

While the final efforts to form the new government were under way, Draghi was in Brussels, attending the final day of a European Council summit, grappling with ways to deal with higher energy prices.

Press Association
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