Home » Pope prays for ‘unity and peace in Italy’ as Giorgia Meloni takes power

Pope prays for ‘unity and peace in Italy’ as Giorgia Meloni takes power

by Mahmmod Shar

Country’s first female prime minister leads the most rightwing government since the second world war

the guardian

Pope Francis offered prayers for “unity and peace in Italy” as Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister, took the helm of the country’s most rightwing government since the second world war.

Meloni, the leader of Brothers of Italy, a party with neofascist origins, met the outgoing prime minister, Mario Draghi, for a formal handover ceremony on Sunday. “I did not expect this welcome,” Meloni, 45, said as she was greeted by Draghi, referring to the ceremonial guard. “It’s an emotionally impacting thing.”

The pair held private talks for over an hour before Draghi handed Meloni a small symbolic bell used during cabinet debates.

The new prime minister’s government, a coalition that includes Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, then swiftly began its first cabinet meeting. “United to deal with the country’s emergencies,” Meloni said.

The coalition won the general election on 25 September on promises of steep tax cuts, pension increases, cracking down on illegal immigration and defending the traditional family.

But the path towards forming a government was marked by clashes over key ministerial posts and simmering rivalries between Meloni and Berlusconi, the three-time former prime minister, especially after he was recorded telling Forza Italia parliamentarians that he blamed Ukraine for the war with Russia and had rekindled his friendship with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.


Meloni, who has previously praised Putin, reiterated before receiving her mandate that her government would be vehemently pro-Nato and that anyone who rejected that “cannot be part of the government.”

The prime minister’s most urgent tasks include protecting households from rising inflation and the spike in energy prices brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leaving her significantly short of the financial resources needed to fund election campaign resources.

Meloni told close officials, “Other than the march on Rome, I will need to march on Gazprom,” according to the La Repubblica newspaper, during a meeting last week about the Italy’s 2023 budget, which must be submitted to Brussels for approval by the end of October.

On October 28, the 100th anniversary of Benito Mussolini and his armed fascist troops marching from Milan to Rome “to take by the throat our miserable ruling class,” Meloni’s government officially takes office. King Vittorio Emanuele III gave him authority two days later.

Meloni received congratulatory messages from world leaders after being sworn in on Saturday, including the US president, Joe Biden, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, who said she had a “a good call” with Meloni after she took office, and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Meloni and Salvini, who is deputy prime minister, were also congratulated by their European far-right allies. “This is a great day for the European right!” the Hungarian prime minister, Victor Orbàn, wrote on Twitter. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said: “Patriots everywhere in Europe are coming to power and with them this Europe of Nations that we are hoping for.”

The first foreign leader Meloni will reportedly meet, either on Sunday or Monday, is the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who is in Rome for an event organised by the Catholic charity Sant’Egidio. “I am ready to work with her,” Macron said on Saturday.


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