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Far-right Meloni becomes Italy’s first female prime minister

Rome: Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni was named prime minister of Italy on Friday, becoming the first woman to head a government in Italy.

Her post-fascist Italian brother — euroskeptic and anti-immigrant — won parliamentary elections on September 25, but needs outside help to form a government.

Meloni’s appointment is historic for the eurozone’s third-largest economy and for an Italian compatriot who has never been in power.

The 45-year-old from Rome will nominate ministers who will be sworn in before President Sergio Mattarella on Saturday.

Shortly after her appointment, Meloni appointed Giancarlo Giorgetti as Minister of Economy.

Former economic development minister Giorgetti is considered one of the moderate, pro-Europeans of Matteo Salvini’s far-right League party.

Last month, her Italian brothers’ party won 26% of the vote, while her allies Forza Italia and the far-right league had 8% and 9% respectively.

– Solidarity concern –

Talks to form a government were overshadowed by disagreements over Meloni’s ardent support for Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

Records leaked during the week appearing to indicate that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (who heads Forza Italia) has spoken out about his warm relationship with Moscow and blamed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the war in Ukraine.

Another of her coalition partners, Salvini, is a longtime fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has criticized Western sanctions against Russia.

Despite her euroskeptic stance, Meloni remains adamant in her support of Ukraine, as well as the rest of the European Union and the United States.

“I will lead a government with a clear and well-defined foreign policy,” she said. “Italy is part of the European and Atlantic Alliance and holds its head high.”

“Those who disagree with this foundation cannot be part of a government, even at the cost of not forming one,” Meloni warned.

Berlusconi, 86, said his personal and political position on Ukraine “does not deviate from that of the Italian government (and) the EU”.

But tensions are fueling fears that Meloni’s coalition, which requires a parliamentary majority, will struggle to stay united.

Berlusconi’s supporters say his comments, recorded during a meeting with lawmakers earlier this week, were taken out of context.

The billionaire media mogul explained that he had rekindled his relationship with longtime friend Putin, who sent him a “very sweet letter” with 20 bottles of vodka on his birthday.

– Future tasks –

Meloni’s coalition argues that the roughly €200 billion ($193 billion) Italy is due to receive should take into account the current energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the EU’s post-Covid recovery fund. want to renegotiate part of Russian gas to Europe.

But the money is tied to a series of reforms that Draghi has just begun, and analysts say there is limited room for him to move.

Meloni has campaigned on a platform of “God, country and family”, which has raised concerns about a setback of rights in a predominantly Catholic country.

She distanced herself from her party’s neo-fascist past, and after extolling dictator Benito Mussolini as a teenager, she also distanced herself from her own past as an outspoken but non-threatening leader. established the position of

Inflation in Italy rose to 8.9% year-on-year in September and threatened to plunge into recession next year.

Given its massive debt, which accounts for 150% of gross domestic product and is the second highest in the euro area after Greece, the room for maneuver is limited.

Draghi used Friday’s final day on the European stage to warn both fellow leaders and Meloni that a united Europe should remain their ‘guiding star’.

Draghi said that everyone sees “the EU as a source of security, stability and peace” and that “especially in these difficult times, keep this in mind as a guiding star for the future.” I have to keep it,” he added.

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/far-right-meloni-named-italys-first-woman-pm/ Far-right Meloni becomes Italy’s first female prime minister

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