Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right leader who was sworn in as Italy’s first female prime minister on Saturday, won the election on a campaign built around a promise to block migrant ships and support for traditional “family values” and anti-LGBTQ themes.
Meloni was sworn in by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella in a ceremony taking at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
She heads an alliance of far-right and center-right parties, her own Brothers of Italy chief among them, and is set to form the most right-wing government Italy has seen in decades.
Meloni’s win in parliamentary elections last month suggests the allure of nationalism remains undimmed in Italy – but her vow to take the country on a hard-right turn still leaves many uncertain what will happen next.
The new government is made up of a coalition with two other right-wing leaders. One is Matteo Salvini, a former interior minister who became the darling of the hard-right in 2018 when he shifted his party, the League, once a northern secessionist party, into a nationalist force.
Meloni’s 24 ministers – six of them women – were being sworn in alongside her on Saturday.
The other is Silvio Berlusconi, the center-right former Italian prime minister widely remembered for his “bunga bunga” sex scandals with young women. Both men have previously publicly expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has prompted questions over what the coalition’s approach to Russia will be.