Giorgia Meloni, head of post-fascist Brothers of Italy, chooses her cabinet team, setting her seal on the country's most right-wing government since World War Two.

Italy's newly appointed PM Giorgia Meloni speaks to the media following a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
Italy's newly appointed PM Giorgia Meloni speaks to the media following a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome. (Reuters)

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has been named Italy's prime minister, becoming the first woman to head a government in the European country.

President Sergio Mattarella invited Meloni on Friday to the presidential palace, Quirinale, after the political consultations he conducted since Thursday with the parties represented in the parliament.

Mattarella gave Meloni the task of forming the new government, with whom she had met for more than an hour.

Her post-fascist Brothers of Italy party -- Eurosceptic and anti-immigration -- won the September 25 legislative polls but needed outside support to form a government.

Meloni's appointment on Friday is a historic event for the eurozone's third-largest economy and for Brothers of Italy, which has never been in government.

Shortly after she was named, the 45-year-old from Rome named her ministers, who will be sworn in on Saturday in front of 

Her party won 26 percent of the vote last month, compared to eight and nine percent respectively for her allies Forza Italia and the far-right League.

Her list of 24 ministers, including six women, revealed a desire to reassure Italy's partners. She named Giancarlo Giorgetti as economy minister, who served under the previous government of Mario Draghi.

Giorgetti, a former minister of economic development, is considered one of the more moderate, pro-Europe members of Matteo Salvini's League.

Meloni also named ex-European Parliament president Antonio Tajani, of Forza Italia, as foreign minister and deputy prime minister.

Salvini will serve as deputy prime minister and minister of infrastructure and transport.

That appointment is likely to disappoint Salvini, who wanted Meloni to give him the role of interior minister again after he previously held the post between 2018 and 2019.

The position went instead to a technocrat, Rome prefect Matteo Piantedosi.

A formal ceremony for the handover of power from Draghi to Meloni will take place on Sunday before the premier leads the first cabinet meeting.

READ MORE: Italy's Meloni declares victory, claims leadership for next government

Challenges ahead

The consultations to cobble a government have been overshadowed by disagreements over Meloni's ardent support for Ukraine since Russia's attack, with her two would-be coalition partners who are both considered close to Moscow.

Despite her Eurosceptic stance, Meloni has been firm about her support for Ukraine, in line with the rest of the European Union and the United States.

"I intend to lead a government with a clear and unequivocal foreign policy line," she has said. "Italy is fully, and with its head held high, part of Europe and the Atlantic Alliance."

"Anyone who does not agree with this cornerstone will not be able to be part of the government, even at the cost of not forming a government," Meloni has warned.

Meloni's coalition wants to renegotiate Italy's part of the EU's post-Covid recovery fund, arguing $193 billion it expects to receive should take into account the current energy crisis, exacerbated by Moscow's attack on Ukraine which has hit the supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

But the funds are tied to a series of reforms only just begun by outgoing PM Mario Draghi, and analysts say she has limited room for manoeuvre.

Meloni had campaigned on a platform of "God, country and family", sparking fears of regression in rights in the Catholic-majority country.

Inflation in Italy rose to 8.9 percent in September over the previous year threatening to put the country in recession next year.

The margin for manoeuvre is limited given that its colossal debt represents 150 percent of the GDP, the highest in the eurozone after Greece.

READ MORE: How ‘fascist’ is the party of Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s PM frontrunner?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies