Italy’s far-right Meloni begins tricky government talks

The Nation  |  Sep 28, 2022

ROME-Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni and her allies began Tuesday what is likely to be a weeks-long process of forming a new government, with crises looming on several fronts.

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party, which triumphed in Sunday’s elections, has no experience of power but must assemble a cross-party team to tackle sky-high inflation and energy prices, and relations with a wary Europe.

The 45-year-old is hoping to be the first woman to lead Italy as prime minister, but needs her allies, Matteo Salvini’s far-right League party and former Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, for a majority in parliament.

The division of the top jobs -- notably economy, foreign affairs, the defence and interior ministries -- will always be political but now, more than ever, “will have to reflect areas of expertise”, the Stampa daily noted. In the past, it has taken anything between four and 12 weeks for a new administration to take office.But the first deadline for action is coming up fast, with debt-laden Italy due to submit its draft plan for next year’s budget to Brussels by October 15.

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President Sergio Mattarella will begin consultations on who should lead the new government only once the Senate and Chamber presidents have been elected by parliament, which meets on October 13.

With families and businesses struggling with huge bills aggravated by the Ukraine war, sorting out the budget will be “like scaling Everest without oxygen tanks for the new cabinet”, the Corriere della Sera daily said. Meloni sought to reassure investors during the election campaign that, despite her radical past.

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