Wednesday, Dec. 06, 2023|
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ROME — Giorgia Meloni on Friday formed Italy’s new ruling coalition, assembling the country’s first far-right-led government since the end of World War II and becoming the first woman to obtain the premiership.
A presidential palace official announced that Meloni and her Cabinet would be sworn in on Saturday. Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, a party with neo-fascist roots, was the top vote-getter 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.
Obtaining the premiership capped a remarkably quick rise for the Brothers of Italy. Meloni co-founded the party in December 2012, and it was considered a fringe movement on the right during its first years.
Meloni made no public comments before leaving the Quirinal presidential palace. Earlier in the day, she met with Mattarella along with her two main, sometimes troublesome, right-wing allies — Matteo Salvini and former Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Mattarella expressed satisfaction that the government was formed in a “brief time” following the Sept. 25 election. After the last election, in 2018, it took three months for a new ruling coalition to come together.
Quickly giving the country a new government “was possible due to the clarity of the vote outcome and to 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,” Mattarella told reporters.
Italy and much of the rest of Europe are struggling with soaring energy costs and the drama of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which could crimp gas supplies this winter and continue increasing household and business power bills.
Berlusconi and Salvini are longtime admirers of Russian President Vladimir Putin; Meloni staunchly backs Ukraine in its defense against the Russian invasion. Those differences could produce challenges for their governing coalition.
Berlusconi, a three-time premier, had chafed at the election victory of Meloni’s party. The Brothers of Italy took 26%, while Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the anti-migrant League of Salvini snagged just over 8% apiece in an election with record-low turnout.
In 2018, when Italy held its previous parliamentary election, Meloni’s party took just over 4%.
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