UPDATE – Italy’s Meloni accepts mandate and forms new government

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ROME, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Giorgia Meloni has accepted a mandate to form Italy’s next government, a presidential official said on Friday, paving the way for her to become the country’s first woman prime minister.

Giorgia Meloni’s Italian government will be sworn in on Saturday at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT). Her cabinet will be made up of 24 ministers.

Meloni, head of the nationalist Brothers of Italy, lead an alliance of conservative parties to victory at a Sept. 25 election.

“Giorgia Meloni has accepted the mandate and has presented her list of ministers,” the presidential official Ugo Zampetti told reporters after Meloni had consulted with President Sergio Mattarella in his palace.

A handout photo made available by the Press Office for the Presidency of the Italian Republic (Quirinale) shows Italian President Sergio Mattarella welcoming Italian designated Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (R) at Quirinale in Rome, Italy, 21 October 2022. Meloni is set to receive a mandate to form a new government from Mattarella, becoming Italy’s first woman premier after FdI spearheaded the coalition’s victory in last month’s general election. EPA-EFE/PAOLO GIANDOTTI

The new government will be formally sworn in on Saturday morning, after which the new government will face confidence votes in both houses of parliament next week.

(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro, writing by Gavin Jones, editing by Crispian Balmer)

Italy’s Giorgetti named economy minister, Tajani foreign minister

New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday named Giancarlo Giorgetti of the League party as her economy minister and said the foreign ministry will go to Antonio Tajani from Forza Italia.

Italian designated prime minister Giorgia Meloni addresses the media after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace on new government formation, in Rome, Italy, 21 October 2022. Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader Giorgia Meloni will be sworn in as premier on 22 October, when her ministers will also be sworn in, after she accepted a mandate from President Sergio Mattarella to form a new government. EPA-EFE/ANGELO CARCONI

Meloni, from the nationalist Brothers of Italy party, read out her list of ministers after being given a mandate to form a government by President Sergio Mattarella.

Among other top cabinet posts, the interior ministry goes to Matteo Piantedosi, a career civil servant with no party affiliation, and the defence ministry goes to Guido Crosetto, one of the founders of Brothers of Italy.

In all, nine ministries were handed out to Brothers of Italy politicians, five each to the League and Forza Italia, with technocrats given a further five cabinet posts.

Meloni led an alliance of conservative parties to victory at a Sept. 25 election.

(writing by Gavin Jones, editing by Crispian Balmer)

Key ministers in new Italian government

 Here the profiles of some of the key figures:

ECONOMY MINISTER

Giancarlo Giorgetti, 55, is a veteran political wheeler-dealer viewed as a moderate and relatively pro-European member of his right-wing League party.

As industry minister in Mario Draghi’s outgoing government Giorgetti helped block a number of Chinese takeover bids in strategic sectors of Italy’s economy.

Prior to that he spent most of his 26 years in parliament behind the scenes, negotiating on others’ behalf and making influential friends in finance and business.

As lower house budget committee head for 10 years between 2001-2013, Giorgetti learned Rome’s legislative processes inside out, and his renowned networking skills extend from politics through business to Italy’s powerful Roman Catholic church.

He was not Prime Minister Meloni’s first choice for the job. She had wanted a technocrat and sources say she approached European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta, who declined the post. She then turned to Giorgetti. 

FOREIGN MINISTER AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Antonio Tajani, 69, is one of the closest aides to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a safe pair of hands with solid EU credentials who has been deputy leader of Berlusconi’s conservative Forza Italia party since 2018.

A former journalist, Tajani entered politics with Berlusconi in 1994 and spent most of his political career in Brussels, either in the European Parliament or in the European Commission.

He led the EU parliament in 2017-2019. At the Commission, he held the transport (2008-2010) and industry (2010-2014) portfolios. 

In his youth, Tajani supported a right-wing pro-monarchy party. He speaks French, Spanish, English and Italian.

INTERIOR MINISTER

Matteo Piantedosi, 59, is a career civil servant who was chief of staff to League leader Matteo Salvini during his term at the interior ministry in 2018-19, helping him to shape his hard-line policies against illegal immigration.

Although he is close to Salvini, Piantedosi is a technocrat without party affiliation and has no previous experience as a minister. He has spent the last two years as Rome’s prefect – a position which upholds security and public order in the capital.

INFRASTRUCTURE MINISTER AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Matteo Salvini, 49, is the head of the hard-right League party and a former interior minister who has promoted a populist agenda, including mass deportations of boat migrants, sweeping tax cuts and lowering the retirement age.

Bearded and stocky, the plain-speaking Salvini took charge of the League in 2013 when it was a small, scandal-plagued regional party. He turned it into a national force and looked set to dominate Italian politics before a series of missteps saw his popularity dive over the past three years.

A one-time fervent supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Salvini has denied allegations his party was funded by Moscow and has criticised the invasion of Ukraine. He rejected suggestions he should stand down as League leader after its weak showing in the Sept. 25 election.

INDUSTRY MINISTER

Adolfo Urso, 65, from Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, began his political career in the youth organisation of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), the post-fascist party created in 1946 by supporters of dictator Benito Mussolini. 

A former journalist, Urso was first elected to parliament in 1994. He held posts in centre-right governments led by Silvio Berlusconi and recently served as president of an influential parliamentary committee on security. 

In this role, he urged Mario Draghi’s government and parliament to strengthen so-called golden powers aimed at shielding industries deemed of strategic importance from foreign takeovers.

DEFENCE MINISTER

Guido Crosetto, 59, is a defence industry lobbyist, a close aide to Meloni and co-founder of her party. He began his political career with the Christian Democratic Party in the 1980s and was a long-time member of parliament until 2019 when he resigned to become president of AIAD, a federation of companies working in the aerospace and defence sector. 

Almost two metres (6.6 feet) tall and bald, he is nicknamed ‘the gentle giant’ or Shrek, a reference to the cartoon character. He served as junior defence minister in a government led by Berlusconi between 2008 and 2011. 

JUSTICE MINISTER

Carlo Nordio, 75, a Brothers of Italy lawmaker, is well-known in Italy as the former prosecutor of Venice, a post from which he retired in 2017. 

He was a fierce opponent of pool of magistrates that led the so-called “Clean Hands” corruption investigation which brought down Italy’s political class in the early 1990s. Meloni insisted on him for the job, overcoming resistance from Berlusconi who wanted a Forza Italia member in the justice ministry.

(Reporting by Rome bureau and Emilio Parodi in MilanEditing by Keith Weir)

Reuters

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