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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Giorgia Meloni sworn in as leader of Italy's new right-wing government

Meloni makes history as Italy's first woman prime minister.

Italy's new right-wing coalition government, led by the far-right Giorgia Meloni as prime minister, was formally sworn in at the Quirinal Palace in Rome on Saturday morning.

Meloni becomes the first woman in Italy's history to serve as premier in what is the country's first far-right-led government since the end of world war two.

She succeeds Mario Draghi to lead Italy's 68th government in 76 years.

At 45, Meloni becomes Italy's second youngest premier, after Matteo Renzi who was 39 when he took office in 2014.

Meloni is the leader of Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) which remained outside Draghi's national unity government and went on to win 26 per cent of the vote in Italy's recent general election, after polling just four per cent in the last election in 2018.

The FdI will share power with the right-wing Lega led by Matteo Salvini (49) and the centre-right Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi (86), which obtained nine and eight per cent of the vote respectively.

On Friday evening Meloni accepted the mandate from President Sergio Mattarella to form a government, after two days of cross-party talks, pledging a "high-profile executive that will work quickly to respond to the urgent needs of the nation and its citizens."

Expressing his satisfaction over the "brief time" it took to form the new government, Matterella told reporters that this “was possible due to the clarity of the vote outcome and the need to proceed swiftly, also because of the domestic and international conditions that require a government in its fullness to carry out its tasks."

After the 2018 election it took three months to establish a new ruling coalition.

Meloni's cabinet comprises 24 ministers, six of whom are women, with several ministries changing name, including the economic development ministry - now the Business and Made in Italy ministry - and the agricultural polices ministry which becomes the ministry of agriculture and food sovereignty.

Meloni will have two deputy premiers: Lega leader and former interior minister Matteo Salvini, and Antonio Tajani, FI coordinator and former president of the European Parliament.

Tajani will serve as Italy's foreign minister, despite a controversy earlier this week over leaked audio in which Berlusconi spoke of renewed ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Berlusconi's comments prompted Meloni to stress that her new government will be pro-NATO and fully a part of Europe, and that whoever disagreed with this line could not be part of the government.

The outgoing economic development minister and senior Lega figure Giancarlo Giorgetti will head the economy ministry while the justice portfolio goes to former prosecutor and FdI member Carlo Nordio.

The interior ministry will be headed by Rome prefect Matteo Piantedosi; health goes to Orazio Schillaci, rector of Rome's Tor Vergata University; and defence to FdI co-founder and close advisor to Meloni, Guido Crosetto, a former lobbyist for the defence ministry.

The swearing-in of the new government comes a week after the appointment of FdI co-founder Ignazio La Russa as senate speaker and the Lega's Lorenzo Fontana as speaker of the lower house of parliament.

Photo ANSA

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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