Italian politician Giorgia Meloni was sworn in as Italy's first female prime minister Saturday.
Her swearing in comes one day after Meloni successfully formed a right-wing coalition government . Her coalition partners Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the center-right Forza Italia, and Matteo Salvini, leader of anti-migrant League party, met Italian President Sergio Mattarella Friday at the presidential palace.
"Giorgia Meloni has accepted the mandate and has presented her list of ministers," Ugo Zampetti, a presidential official, told reporters after Meloni met the president at the Quirinale palace.
The formal swearing in of the new government occurred on Saturday morning, after which it will face confidence votes in both houses of the parliament scheduled next week.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Meloni as Italy's first female premier.
Von der Leyen said she looked forward to working with Meloni. The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, also welcomed Meloni as Italy's new premier, and tweeted: "Let's work together for the benefit of Italy and the EU."
Meloni announces new cabinet
The new Italian prime minister named Giancarlo Giorgetti of the League party as her economy minister and Antonio Tajani from Forza Italia as the foreign minister.
Among other top cabinet posts, Matteo Piantedosi, a civil servant with no party affiliation was named interior minister and Guido Crosetto, co-founder of Brothers of Italy, was named defense minister.
In all, nine ministries were handed out to Brothers of Italy politicians and five each to the League and Forza Italia, with technocrats given a further five cabinet posts.
Meloni's government to tackle energy crisis, Ukraine war
Meloni told reporters a little after her meeting with the president earlier Friday that her coalition partners had indicated to Mattarella that she deserved the mandate to govern.
The new government now faces a long list of challenges, including soaring energy prices, a war in Ukraine, and a renewed economic slowdown.
Even though partners Berlusconi and Salvini have talked about their fondness for Russian leader Vladimir Putin but distanced themselves from his invasion, Meloni has been firm about her support for Ukraine, which is in line with the rest of the European Union and the United States.
She has, however, called for a naval blockade to prevent migrant boats from leaving North African shores and is likely to clash with European powers over the topic of migration.
Leaders congratulate Meloni
US President Joe Biden congratulated Meloni on becoming prime minister of Italy, which he called a "vital NATO ally and close partner."
"As leaders in the G7, I look forward to continuing to advance our support for Ukraine, hold Russia accountable for its aggression, ensure respect for human rights and democratic values, and build sustainable economic growth," Biden said in a statement.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz offered a welcome in English, for the most part, on Twitter.
"Congratulazoni Giorgia Meloni. I look forward to working closely together with Italy in EU, NATO and G7," Scholz wrote. "All the best and thank you to Mario Draghi for the good German-Italian partnership in recent years.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulated Meloni. "I look forward to continued fruitful cooperation to ensure peace and prosperity in Ukraine, Italy and the world," he wrote on Twitter.
Meloni, in a tweet thanking Zelensky for his congratulations to her, said: "Italy is and will always be on the side of the brave people of Ukraine that is fighting for its freedom and for a rightful peace."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Meloni and said he looked forward to working with her. "Italy is a founding member of NATO, committed to the transatlantic bond and making strong contributions to our security in a more dangerous world. I look forward to working with you," he tweeted.
Brothers of Italy party soars to popularity
Meloni is the leader of far-right Brothers of Italy party, whose agenda is rooted in euroskepticism and opposition to migration.
She has sought to downplay her party's post-fascist roots, saying her party is similar to the Conservative Party in the UK or to the Republican Party in the United States.
Brothers of Italy party, or Fratelli d'Italia in Italian, does not support LGBTQ rights.
Meloni led the center-right coalition that claimed victory with 44% of the vote in last month's general elections after Mario Draghi's government collapsed in July.
The Brothers of Italy party, which won just 4.5% of the vote in 2018 elections, also won the biggest share of the vote in the general elections last month.
rm/wd (AFP, AP)