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TIMELINE: What happens next after Italy’s historic elections?

A hard-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni is set to take power in Italy after Sunday's historic elections. But it might be a while before Meloni and her government actually get to work.

TIMELINE: What happens next after Italy's historic elections?
Next steps after Italy elections. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

A coalition led by far-right leader Giorgia Meloni is on course to win a parliamentary majority in Italian elections, but forming a government can be a lengthy business.

READ ALSO: Giorgia Meloni’s far right triumphs in Italy’s elections

In the past, it has taken anything between four and 12 weeks for a new administration to take office.

Here is what will happen next in Italy if previous elections are anything to go by.

Official results 

While exit polls were published after voting ended at 11 pm on Sunday night and projections followed early on Monday morning, the interior ministry will not issue official results until during the day on Monday.

President of the Italian Senate Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati (C) reads the results of the vote in the Senate hall after a vote of confidence to the prime minister at Palazzo Madama in Rome on July 14, 2022.

The new Italian parliament will have to convene no later than October 15th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

This will depend on the number of votes to be counted but turnout appeared to be down on the 2018 vote.

Parliament meets

The Italian constitution requires that newly elected members of the two houses of parliament, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, meet no later than 20 days after elections.

This would put their first gathering no later than October 15.

At this time, each chamber must elect a president and only then can the process of nominating members of a government begin.

President leads negotiations

President Sergio Mattarella will begin consultations on who should lead the new government with the Senate and Chamber presidents, the leaders of the main parties and eventually the parliamentary groups.

If the result of the election is clear, these consultations will be fairly short, perhaps two days, though they could also last up to a week.

Then Mattarella, elected by parliament to a second seven-year term as head of state earlier this year, will nominate a prime minister.

READ ALSO: PROFILE: Who is Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s likely next prime minister?

Leader of Italian far-right party "Fratelli d'Italia" (Brothers of Italy), Giorgia Meloni holds a placard reading "Thank You Italy" after she delivered an address at her party's campaign headquarters overnight on September 26, 2022 in Rome.

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni will likely be Italy’s new prime minister. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

This person will accept the mandate to form a new government “with reservations” and begin talks with allies on ministerial appointments and a joint programme.

At the end of these discussions, if all goes well, the prospective premier will return to Mattarella and “lift their reservations”.

Finally a government

The new government is announced and sworn in before the president the same day or the next. The prime minister and their ministers then go to the seat of the executive, Palazzo Chigi, for the handover of power.

READ ALSO: EU sees trouble but no breakdown if Italy’s far right takes power

Silvio Berlusconi only needed 24 days in 2008 to take office, while it took 89 for Giuseppe Conte in 2018.

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Italy’s government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

Italy's new government issued a decree on Thursday to continue sending weapons to Ukraine through 2023, continuing the previous administration's policy of support to Kyiv.

Italy's government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

The decree extends to December 31, 2023 an existing authorisation for “the transfer of military means, materials and equipment to the government authorities of Ukraine,” according to a government statement.

Since taking office in October, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly voiced her support for Kyiv while underlying the importance of the Atlantic alliance.

In her first speech to parliament, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party pledged to “continue to be a reliable partner of NATO in supporting Ukraine.”

Her predecessor Mario Draghi was a staunch supporter of Kyiv, but the issue of sending arms to Ukraine split the biggest party in parliament during his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.

That friction led to the early elections that brought Meloni to power.

Parliament now has 60 days to vote the decree into law.

READ ALSO: Outcry in Italy after Berlusconi defends Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Despite Meloni’s efforts to reassure her Western allies of Italy’s support for the EU’s and NATO’s Ukraine strategy, including sanctions on Russia, the close ties to Russia of her two coalition partners have come under scrutiny.

Both Matteo Salvini of the League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who leads Forza Italia, have long enjoyed warm relations with Russia.

In October, an audio tape of Berlusconi was leaked to the media in which the former premier described how he had received a birthday present of vodka from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the tape, he also expressed concerns about sending weapons and cash to Kyiv and appeared to blame the war on Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Berlusconi later issued a statement saying his personal position on Ukraine “does not deviate” from that of Italy and the EU.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Salvini, too, has come under fire for his relations with Moscow, including a report that he dined with Russia’s ambassador to Rome just days after that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Salvini, who has criticised EU sanctions as ineffective, has long admired Putin, even wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Russian leader’s face.