Italy begins negotiations on forming new government
Rome, Oct 20: Negotiations on the formation of Italy's new government will kick off Thursday, according to President Sergio Mattarella's office.
Nationalist leader Giorgia Meloni is widely expected to become Italy's first female prime minister after winning a majority of the seats in Italy's general election in September.
Last month, Meloni's right-leaning Brothers of Italy party secured victory in a rightist bloc comprising Silvio Berlusconi's "Forza Italia" and Matteo Salvini's "League."
How does the process work?
Under the Italian constitution, before the election winners can start the formation of a new government, Mattarella has to consult with the leadership of the main political parties.
Mattarella will then appoint one person to lead negotiations, which is expected to be Meloni, as she is the favorite to become prime minister.
The president's office said that Mattarella will invite opposition parties on Thursday and is scheduled to meet the leaders of the conservative bloc on Friday.
Salvini said on Wednesday that he expected the new government will be sworn in between Saturday and Monday.
He said the cabinet will have to win an obligatory vote of confidence in parliament before taking office officially on October 26.
However the parties in the right-wing bloc are still negotiating ministerial appointments, and, for example, are unable to agree on who should be appointed as justice minister.
Meloni says Italy will be 'pro-Europe'
On Wednesday, Meloni declared her support of NATO and the EU.
"Italy with us in government will never be the weak link in the West," she said in a statement, adding that she would not form an alliance with any party that disagreed.
"On one thing I...will always be clear. I intend to lead a government with a clear and unequivocal foreign policy line," she said.
Her statement comes as Berlusconi recently reiterated his sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin and accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of triggering the war in Ukraine.
Italy's new government will replace Prime Minister Mario Draghi's administration.
As prime minister, Meloni will have to address challenges such as concerns over energy supplies heading into winter as well as rising inflation in the country.