Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni sworn in as Italian premier – USA TODAY

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ROME — Giorgia Meloni, whose political party has neo-fascist roots, was sworn in on Saturday as Italy’s first far-right premier since the end of World War II.

Meloni, 45, took the oath of office before the Italian president at the presidential palace, becoming also the first woman to be the nation’s leader.

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Her Brothers of Italy party was the top vote-getter in last month’s national election. Meloni announced her Cabinet on Friday evening. Her coalition allies include the right-wing League of Matteo Salvini and the conservative Forza Italia party headed by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

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Meloni recited the ritual oath of office, pledging to be faithful to Italy’s post-war republic and to act “in the exclusive interests of the nation.” The pledge was signed by her and counter-signed by President Sergio Mattarella, who, in his role as head of state, serves as guarantor of the Constitution, drafted in the years immediately after the end of war, which saw the demise of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

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Meloni’s 24 ministers followed, similarly swearing in. Five of the ministers are technocrats, not representing any party. Six of them are women.

Meloni will head her first Cabinet meeting on Sunday. Her government replaces that led by Mario Draghi, a former European Central Bank chief, who was appointed by Mattarella in 2021 to lead a pandemic national unity coalition. Meloni was the sole major party leader to refuse to join the coalition, insisting the nation’s voters return to the polls, which they did on Sept. 25.