Italy set for new government led by Giorgia Meloni
By Susy Hodges
Giorgia Meloni, head of the Brothers of Italy party, is set to be named the country’s first female prime minister.
She met Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Friday morning alongside her main coalition allies, Matteo Salvini, who heads the League, and Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the Forza Italia party.
The right-wing bloc won a commanding parliamentary majority in September’s general election, with Ms. Meloni’s party taking the most votes.
A full in-tray
The new administration faces an array of daunting challenges, including a looming recession, soaring energy bills and disagreements within the coalition over the war in Ukraine and relations with Russia.
The task of putting together the new team has proved more turbulent than expected, with Mr. Berlusconi sparking a row after it was revealed that he had exchanged gifts and friendly letters with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The veteran politician also told his lawmakers that he blamed Ukraine for the war with Russia. Mr. Berlusconi later insisted his remarks had been taken out of context and that he backs the Italian and European Union position on Ukraine.
Ms. Meloni’s other right-wing ally, Matteo Salvini has also long been seen as an admirer of Mr. Putin but she needs both men in her coalition to form a majority.
Following the row over Mr. Berlusconi’s remarks, Ms. Meloni issued a statement stressing that her administration would be firmly pro-NATO and pro-European.
Her new cabinet is likely to be sworn in over the weekend. Ms. Meloni then must win votes of confidence in both chambers of Italy’s parliament before formally assuming full powers.