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

Giogia Meloni’s party is anti-immigration and eurosceptic, but it supports Ukraine after the Russian invasion

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni was set to be named Italian prime minister on Friday following her party’s historic election victory, becoming the first woman to lead a government in Italy.

Her post-fascist Brothers of Italy party – Eurosceptic and anti-immigration – won September 25 legislative polls but needs outside support to form a government.

After two days of cross-party deliberations, the 45-year-old from Rome will now almost certainly be asked to form a government and become the country’s first female prime minister.

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Tradition dictates that President Sergio Mattarella will only name her after formal talks with all parties in parliament.

“We are waiting for the decision of the President of the Republic and we are already ready, we want to move forward as soon as possible,” she said after the meeting, calling it “an important moment for the nation”.

– Unity Concerns –

During the week, a tape leaked in which former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi – who heads Forza Italia – talks about his warm ties to Moscow and appeared to blame Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the war in Ukraine.

Despite her Eurosceptic stance, Meloni is firm about her support for Ukraine, in line with the rest of the European Union and the United States.

“Anyone who disagrees with this cornerstone will not be able to be part of the government, even if they don’t form a government,” Meloni warned.

But the tensions raise concerns that Meloni’s coalition, held together by the need for a parliamentary majority, will struggle to maintain unity.

The billionaire media mogul described a renewed relationship with his longtime friend Putin, who said he sent him 20 bottles of vodka and a “very sweet letter” for his birthday.

Meloni’s coalition wants to renegotiate Italy’s share of the EU’s post-Covid recovery fund, arguing that the nearly 200 billion euros ($193 billion) it expects to receive should take into account the current energy crisis, exacerbated by the invasion of Moscow in Ukraine, eroding supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

Meloni had campaigned on a “God, Country and Family” platform, raising fears of a decline in rights in the Catholic-majority country.

Inflation in Italy rose to 8.9 percent in September from the previous year, threatening to push the country into recession next year.

Draghi used his last day on the European stage on Friday to warn both his fellow leaders and Meloni that a united Europe must remain their “leading star”.

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