Giorgia Meloni has become the first woman in Italy's history to be sworn in as Prime Minister. The party leader of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia took the oath on Saturday morning before Head of State Sergio Mattarella. The men and women of her cabinet were also sworn in at the Quirinale Palace in Rome. In future, Italy will be governed by a right-wing government consisting of the Fratelli, the conservative Forza Italia led by ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini's right-wing populist Lega.
A handover between the new head of government Meloni and her predecessor Mario Draghi is planned for Sunday in the Palazzo Chigi, and the Council of Ministers will meet for the first time. The cabinet of the 45-year-old Roman woman then needs confirmation by a vote of confidence in the two chambers of parliament, which observers say could happen early next week. The right-wing alliance has had an absolute majority in parliament since the September 25 election, which is why voting for the new government should not be a major hurdle.
Because of the clear election result in favor of the right-wing parties, the Fratelli, in alliance with Forza Italia and Lega, were the clear favorites to form a government. At the end of September, Meloni's party won the election with 26 percent. Before that, the Fratelli, which has its roots in fascism, was still a mini-party in parliament. Since then, the right-wing alliance has held an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament and should therefore easily survive the vote of confidence that is still pending - probably at the beginning of next week.
Meloni vowed on Twitter a "high-profile executive branch that will work quickly to respond to the pressing issues facing the nation and citizens." "Five years together to change Italy," Salvini tweeted - knowing that the country's governments last a little over a year on average.
Berlusconi also caused unrest when he wrote about Meloni last week as "opinionated, haughty, arrogant, insulting" and recently expressed his sympathy for the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine war. He is also a close friend of the Kremlin boss and he gave him vodka for his birthday, the 86-year-old told parliamentarians during the week.
The Justice Department was particularly hard-fought. Berlusconi, who is still on trial for his "bunga bunga parties," wanted the department for his party. However, Meloni remained firm to the end and nominated former prosecutor Carlo Nordio from her party for the post. Maria Elisabetta Casellati, a confidant of Berlusconi, whom the "Cavaliere" (Cavalier) actually wanted to position there, was given the Reform Ministry for it. Berlusconi, who is in poor health, will not take on a ministerial post.
The important Ministry of Finance, which deals with the sale of the Italian state airline Ita Airways, among other things, is to be headed by Lega politician Giancarlo Giorgetti. The European politician Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia) is planned as Italy's foreign minister and Meloni's deputy. Lega boss Salvini should also be her deputy and head the infrastructure ministry. On Friday he said his goal would be to build the long-planned bridge between Calabria and Sicily across the Strait of Messina.
Salvini initially squinted at the Interior Ministry, which he headed a few years ago under Giuseppe Conte's government. Because of his tough anti-migration policy, the 49-year-old made headlines at the time and still has to answer in court in Palermo in the case of the blockade of the sea rescue ship "Open Arms". Instead, Meloni nominated the prefect of the city of Rome, Matteo Piantedosi, a technocrat with experience in the ministry.
After the swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, the first meeting of the Council of Ministers is scheduled for Sunday. Then it's "Ciao" for Mario Draghi's government, which fell in the government crisis at the end of July. On Friday, the former head of the European Central Bank said goodbye on the European stage in Brussels: "Italy is a strong country," said the 75-year-old.