Georgia Meloni’s 70-minute program speech: What will her politics be?

Meloni said the nationalist right-wing coalition she leads will make Italy's voice heard in Europe, stressing that she is firmly against racism and discrimination

Italy’s first female prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, promised to lead her country through the current times, which are some of the worst since World War II, and to continue supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Reuters reported, citing BTA.

Setting a belligerent tone in his debut keynote address to Parliament as Prime Minister,

Meloni said the nationalist right-wing coalition she leads will make Italy’s voice heard in Europe, stressing that she is firmly against racism and discrimination.

Rome will continue to support Western sanctions against Moscow

despite curtailing Russian natural gas supplies, Meloni said in his more than hour-long speech, which touched on multiple topics.

“Let’s give in to Putin’s blackmail regarding energy

it will not solve the problem, it will exacerbate it, opening the way for further demands and extortion,” she said.

Forty-five-year-old Meloni, who is the leader of the nationalist “Italian Brothers” party,

won last month’s parliamentary elections as part of a pre-election coalition that also included former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forward Italy and Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant League.

This government of Italy is the most right-wing since World War II,

and Berlusconi and Salvini’s past close relationship with Moscow has raised concerns about his foreign policy course, Reuters notes.

Meloni said the government would provide financial support to families and businesses,

which are affected by the energy crisis, and warned that the high cost of this aid means the Cabinet may have to back out temporarily on one of its costliest campaign promises.

“The situation in which the government will work is very difficult,

perhaps the worst since World War II,” she said, adding that the economy could slip into recession next year because of high inflation and turmoil related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Meloni, who grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Rome,

defined himself as a man of the people who rose from the lowlands to the top himself, without being part of the elite and without relying on rich parents, and rejected negative expectations about the work of his government.

Meloni, whose party has neo-fascist roots, told MPs that the cabinet would fight against all forms of discrimination.

“I have never sympathized with any anti-democratic regimes. No such regimes, which includes fascism,” she said.

“For the same reason, I have always considered the racial (anti-Semitic) laws of 1938 to be the most shameful moment in Italian history, a shame that will hang over our people forever.”

On the issue of immigration, one of the main issues for her supporters, Meloni said that Italy would try to stem migration flows,

coming across the Mediterranean from Africa, and will work with African governments to that end.

On other issues such as civil rights and abortion, Meloni said they would not be curtailed, including the right to an abortion.

Regarding the mafia and crime, the new prime minister said that her government will fight them. “We will be uncompromising in our fight against the tumor called mafia,” she said.

After Meloni finished her 70-minute speech, her supporting MPs in the chamber rose to their feet and applauded with chants of “Georgia, George”.

Later today, the new government will be put to a confidence vote by the lower house of parliament, which Meloni is likely to win easily. On Wednesday, the government is also expected to receive a vote of confidence from the upper house of the Italian parliament, the Senate.

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