«A government in the shortest possible time», this was the first promise Prime Minister in pectore Giorgia Meloni made to journalists on her way out of consultations with the Head of State at the Quirinale. A need for speed that reflected the very brief morning meeting with Mattarella that lasted just 11 minutes and the afternoon meeting for the conferment of office that lasted just over an hour. Twenty-six days before the elections, after a round of consultations, the leader of Fratelli d’Italia accepted the unreserved mandate to form the next government, the first time for a woman, the first time for such a right-wing party. And at the end of the day she announced the list of Ministers.
But let’s take a step back. The majority representatives present themselves united at the Quirinale, at least in form, after days of disagreements and lacerations. A large delegation, to formalize in images a rediscovered chorus of intentions. Twelve people, three for each political force that makes up the majority: Fratelli d’Italia, Lega, Forza Italia and Noi Moderati. There are also the group leader of the Forza Italia senators Licia Ronzulli and Silvio Berlusconi, the two discordant notes of the post-election parenthesis. The former for being excluded from the shortlist of Ministers, the latter for his remarks on Ukraine released to the press in a secretly recorded audio during the party assembly meeting in the Chamber. It is above all the second episode that has threatened the formation of the future government: in the stolen audio, Berlusconi announced that he had re-established relations with Putin, received bottles of Vodka and a cordial letter. An element of hindrance both for the international posture assumed by Italy during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on Zelensky’s side and for Meloni’s narrative focused in recent months on reaffirming her Atlanticist position. To remedy the damage caused by the Cav’s statements, Antonio Tajani, party coordinator and promised Foreign Minister, flew to Brussels to the European People’s Party summit to confirm support for Kiev. On the issue the future government cannot afford any shadow, Giorgia Meloni’s position was therefore lapidary, at the cost of blowing everything up: «Italy is fully and proudly part of Europe and the Atlantic Alliance. Anyone who does not agree with this stronghold cannot be part of the government, at the cost of not being a government». A clear international positioning is not an insignificant detail but a necessity, especially for a leader of a right-wing party who is appearing for the first time in Republican history from the window of Palazzo Chigi. A tear that was mended on the eve of the consultations, a rediscovered unity of intent reaffirmed in the words of those who have been indicated as such “unanimously” by the forces of the coalition.
In the waltz of the consultations, the minority forces heard by the Head of State on Thursday emphasized their opposition, with distinctions. Outgoing PD secretary Enrico Letta called for a greater convergence of the oppositions, declaring himself open to an improvement of the constitutional charter but not to the distortion of its structure. MoVimento 5 Stelle leader Giuseppe Conte rejected the idea of a united opposition, judged citizenship income untouchable and deemed Italy’s sending of arms to Kiev no longer necessary. Carlo Calenda, leader of Azione and spokesperson for Terzo Polo, instead asked the next government to make a definitive clarification on the foreign policy line, adding that if the government poses against supporting Ukraine, its opposition will be “very tough”.
Friday turned out to be a historic day for Giorgia Meloni and her party. The President of the Republic approved the list of 24 ministers: 6 women and 18 men. There were many confirmations of the names that had been circulating in recent days, several Ministries that changed their names to reflect the political orientation of the next executive. And here is the definitive list: the Ministers without portfolio are Luca Ciriani (Relations with Parliament), Paolo Zangrillo (Public Administration), Roberto Calderoli (Regional Affairs and Autonomies), Sebastiano Musumeci (Sea and Southern Policies), Raffaele Fitto (European Affairs, Cohesion Policies and PNRR), Andrea Abodi (Sport and Youth), Eugenia Roccella (Family, Birth and Equal Opportunities), Alessandra Locatelli (Disability), Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati (Institutional Reforms). Ministers with Portfolio: Antonio Tajani (Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the Council), Matteo Piantedosi (Interior), Carlo Nordio (Justice), Guido Crosetto (Defence), Giancarlo Giorgetti (Economy and Finance), Adolfo Urso (Enterprise and Made in Italy), Francesco Lollobrigida (Agriculture and Food Sovereignty), Gilberto Pichetto Fratin (Environment and Energy Security), Matteo Salvini (Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility and Vice-President of the Council of Ministers), Marina Calderone (Labour and Social Policies), Giuseppe Valditara (Education and Merit), Anna Maria Bernini (University and Research), Gennaro Sangiuliano (Culture), Orazio Schillaci (Health), Daniela Santanché (Tourism) and Alfedo Mantovano as Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Appointment for the swearing-in on Saturday, 22 October, at 10 a.m.
The ball passes to Parliament, first to the Chamber of Deputies and then to the Senate for the conferral of confidence. Most probably, Giorgia Meloni will be the thirty-first tenant of Palazzo Chigi in the history of the Republic, the first one so far right, the first woman to preside over a Council of Ministers in Italy.