Italy’s first female prime minister sworn in at head of far-right coalition. [The Guardian]
The government of Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister and leader of a party with neo-fascist origins, has been sworn in.
Meloni, 45, and her cabinet took the oath before the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, on Saturday.
The political firebrand from Rome has taken the helm of Italy’s 68th government since the end of the second world war, and her Brothers of Italy party leads an alliance including Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia that holds the largest majority of any coalition government in the country since 1994.
Meloni will give a speech in parliament over the next few days and must win a vote of confidence in both chambers, more of a formality given the solid majority, before her government can assume full powers.
Meloni has appointed two deputy prime ministers – Salvini, who as a former interior minister enacted a draconian anti-immigration bill – and Antonio Tajani, the deputy leader of Forza Italia. Salvini is also minister for infrastructure, while Tajani, a former president of the European parliament, is foreign minister.
The coalition put on a united front during the election campaign, but the path towards creating a government was marked by simmering rivalries between Meloni and Berlusconi, the three-time former prime minister who described her as arrogant and bossy after they clashed over key ministerial posts.
The pair made peace last week, only for Berlusconi, 86, to spark further tumult after telling Forza Italia parliamentarians that he blamed Ukraine for the war with Russia and had rekindled his friendship with Vladimir Putin after the pair exchanged gifts and “sweet letters”.