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New Italian PM Meloni calls for unity

Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi (left) shakes hands with new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the handover ceremony at Chigi Palace Premier's office, in Rome on Oct 23, 2022.  (ANDREW MEDICHINI / AP)

ROME – New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Sunday called for unity as she symbolically took power in a country that faced what she said were "multiple" challenges.

Though Meloni was sworn in on Saturday, outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi ceremonially passed power to her Sunday in a televised meeting at Palazzo Chigi, the official seat of Italy's government.

New Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni – the leader of right-wing Brothers of Italy – was asked to form the new government after her party won 26 percent of votes in the recent polls, ending up as the most voted force

Draghi, a former governor of the European Central Bank, had been prime minister since February 2021, though he served in a caretaker role since resigning after his coalition splintered in July.

Meloni – the leader of right-wing Brothers of Italy – was asked to form the new government after her party won 26 percent of votes in the recent polls, ending up as the most voted force.

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She had run the campaign with her two coalition allies, the center-right Forza Italia party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and the anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic League led by Matteo Salvini, both of which gained a little over 8 percent of the votes.

Addressing her first Council of Ministers meeting, Meloni said: "We must be united to face the multiple emergencies the country is facing."

According to widespread media reports, Meloni was referring to rising inflation rate, a slowing economy, potential energy shortages during the winter, and the ongoing impacts of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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The Meloni government must still take two more steps before officially taking power: passing confidence votes in both houses of parliament, likely to take place sequentially on back to back days this week.