Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister, has been sworn in along with the rest of her government.
Meloni, leader of Brothers of Italy, a far-right party with neo-fascist roots, took the oath in front of the Italian president Sergio Mattarella, confirming her position as leader of the south European nation.
The 45-year-old heads up a coalition consisting of her own party along with fellow far-right party League and center-right Forza Italia, led by Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi respectively. Members of both junior coalition partners have been appointed to prominent roles in government.
The three parties now form Italy’s 68th government since the end of the second world war, and hold the largest majority of any coalition government in the country since 1994.
Meloni must win a vote of confidence in both chambers of parliament over the coming days, but this is nothing more than a formality given the strength of her government’s majority.
The new prime minister has appointed two deputies, with Salvini being handed the role alongside Forza deputy leader Antonio Tajani. Salvini will also hold the post of minister for infrastructure while Tajani will serve as foreign minister.
The coalition had looked under threat before even taking power, with the leader-in-waiting managing to attract the ire of Italian political grandee Berlusconi, who described Meloni as “patronising, bossy, arrogant and offensive” in a clash over ministerial appointments.
That issue had been put to bed last week, only for Berlusconi to spark further controversy with comments about Russia.
Speaking to Forza Italia politicians, 86-year-old Berlusconi blamed Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskiy for Russia’s invasion of his country. The three-time Italian prime minister claimed to have rekindled his friendship with Vladimir Putin and claimed the Russian leader had been provoked into February’s invasion.
Meloni has repeatedly stated her support for NATO and said her party will not work with those who hold opposing positions.