Far-right Giorgia Meloni named as Italy’s first female prime minister
Following an hour-long meeting with Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, Ms Meloni and her right wing coalition colleagues – Matteo Salvini,of the far-right League, and Silvio Berlusconi, the founder of Forza Italia – Mr Mattarella announced that he had asked her to become prime minister.
Ms Meloni accepted the post and presented a list of her ministers to the President. An oath to formalise the creation of the Meloni government will take place on Saturday at 10am.
Ugo Zampetti, general secretary of the Quirinale palace in Rome – an official residence of the president – said: "The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, has given the task of forming the government to Giorgia Meloni who has accepted the task and presented the list of ministers.”
World leaders welcomed Ms Meloni’s appointment. The leader of the Brother of Italy party was summoned to the Quirinale to speak to Mr Mattarella late on Friday afternoon.
French President Emmanuel Macron said ahead of the president’s announcement: "I am ready to work with the future premier Giorgia Meloni and I will meet her around the table of the European Council.”
Katalin Novák, president of Hungary and a member of Fidesz, Hungary's populist Right-wing ruling party, said: “Just spoke to my longstanding ally and friend, Giorgia Meloni, to whom I would like to congratulate on her nomination to the first female Prime Minister of Italy.
Eagle eyes observers noted that a glance was exchanged between Mr Salvini and Mr Berlusconi when Ms Meloni told reporters after her initial meeting with the president on Friday morning that there is a “unanimous proposal of my name as the head of the new government.”
Mr Berlusconi’s involvement in the government is controversial at a time when his long standing relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin has come under the spotlight. Ms Meloni has repeatedly demonstrated her support for Ukraine.
A secretly recorded tape revealed that he blamed Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for forcing President Putin to invade Ukraine. He also mentions a “sweet letter” and a gift of 20 bottles of vodka from Mr Putin for his 86th birthday.
On the audio, a transcription of which was published in La Presse earlier this week, Mr Berlusconi was heard telling Forza Italia party members: “I reconnected a little bit with President Putin.”
Ms Meloni’s victory in the general election earlier this month saw a large swing to the right in a country which has been troubled with economic woes, a cost of living crisis and an ongoing divide over immigration. Running on a traditionalist platform of "God, fatherland and family", also the motto of far-right Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, Ms Meloni won more than a quarter of the vote in the general election, a snap poll called after the collapse of the national unity government led by Mario Draghi in July.
Italy is a country of huge historic political instability. It has had 69 governments since World War Two, which works out at just under one a year.
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