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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Far-right Meloni takes over as Prime Minister of Italy

ROME ( Associated Press) — Giorgia Meloni, whose party with neo-fascist roots won the most votes in Italy’s national elections last month, on Saturday formally took over as the leader of Italy’s government since the end of World War II. Sworn in as the first far-right prime minister. world War. Meloni, 45, also became the first woman in the country to hold the position.

In a ceremony at Rome’s Quirinal Palace, Meloni recited the oath before President Sergio Mattarella, who on Friday formally asked him to form the government.

Meloni’s party – the Brothers of Italy, which he co-founded in 2012 and was the most voted party in last month’s general election – will rule in a coalition with two parties that have fallen out of favor with voters in recent years. : The League, the right wing of a Matteo Salvini, and the conservative Forza Italia of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Meloni recited a traditional oath in which he pledged to remain loyal to the post-war republic and to act “in the special interest of the nation”. He then signed the promise, countersigned by Mattarella, who, in his role as head of state, would have acted as guarantor of a constitution drawn up in the post-war years ending the regime of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Is.

24 ministers of the government also followed in his footsteps with a similar oath. Five ministers are technocrats who do not represent any party and six are women.

The first meeting of the Meloni government will be held on Sunday.

Meloni did not comment publicly in his first hours in office. He is expected to set his priorities when he seeks support in parliament ahead of the trust vote needed for a new government next week.

The vote could signal a rift in the tripartite coalition if either Berlusconi or Salvini’s MPs, perhaps unhappy that they did not receive ministry for their parties, do not withdraw it.

Meloni’s government replaces Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, who was appointed by Mattarella in 2021 to lead a coalition of national unity after the pandemic. Meloni was the only leader of a major party who refused to join the group, insisting that voters return to the election, as had happened on 25 September.

An immediate challenge for Meloni will be ensuring that Italy remains firmly aligned with other major countries in the West to help Ukraine fight off Russian invaders.

In recent days, Meloni has resorted to an ultimatum to his other main coalition ally, Berlusconi, for his sympathies for Putin and his dismissive comments towards the president of Ukraine.

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Associated Press writer Giada Zampano in Rome contributed to this report

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