Argentinian President Javier Milei parades during his inauguration in the company of his sister and close advisor Karina.
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Ultra-liberal Javier Milei became president of Argentina on Sunday, immediately announcing that the economic situation in the country would “get worse” in the short term and promising a “shock” of austerity.
There is no alternative to a fit, there is no alternative to a shock in budgetary matters, because there is no money!, Mr. Milei told a crowd of supporters, gathered in front of Parliament, where he had just taken the oath.
We know the situation will get worse in the short term. But afterwards, we will see the fruits of our efforts.
A quote from Javier Milei, President of Argentina
In an offensive speech, he promised to take all necessary decisions to resolve the problem caused by 100 years of political waste, the worst legacy ever received by a government.
In front of him, a blue and white sea made up of several thousand supporters, dominated by Argentinian flags and jerseys of the national soccer team, cheered his interventions, with cries of Libertad, Libertad, even Motosierra! (chainsaw), in reference to the tool he brandished in campaign, to symbolize the cuts to come in the enemy state.
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At midday, Javier Milei, 53, became Argentina's 12th president since the return of democracy 40 years ago, swearing before parliamentarians to honor the office of president and wearing the blue and white presidential sash.
Milei, an economist known for years as a popular polemicist on television, overturned Argentine politics . Elected deputy in 2021, he swept away the Peronist (center-left) and right-wing blocs, which had alternated in power for 20 years, with a clear message.
On November 19, he scored a resounding victory in the second round of the presidential election, against the outgoing centrist Economy Minister, Sergio Massa, with 55.6% of the vote.
Third largest economy in Latin America, but mired in chronic inflation, at 143% over one year, structural debt, and 40 % poverty, Argentina is preparing for painful adjustments.
After his speech, punctuated by his favorite slogan Viva la Libertad, carajo! (Long live Freedom, damn it!), Javier Milei, alongside his sister and close advisor Karina, 50, traveled in a convertible the 2 km separating the Parliament from the Casa Rosada, the presidency, sometimes stopping to go meet the crowd.
From the balcony of the presidency, he subsequently greeted the crowd with a characteristic roar: Hello everyone, I am the lion!, borrowing a few lines from an Argentinian hard rock tune.
But he reiterated that if we are going to have to go through a difficult period, we will overcome it, launching a Let's make Argentina great again!, with Trumpian accents .
In the crowd gathered throughout the day, the Argentinians, sometimes coming from distant regions (Mendoza, Tucuman), hailed Milei as the embodiment of a 180-degree turn, and a glimmer of hope , as enthused Ariel Carabetta, a 42-year-old trader.
The president-elect indicated that he would convene a meeting in the coming days , an extraordinary session of Parliament to present a first block of laws.
Uncertainty remains over its first concrete measures: devaluation of the notoriously overvalued peso? First budget cuts, particularly public worksites? Restriction, or even ban on monetary issuance?
Sunday, Milei reaffirmed that the first concrete objective will be a strong reduction in the budget deficit, which will fall on the state, not the private sector.
People are going to have “free” prices for the first time in a long time. : the end of the "supervised prices" that the outgoing government was negotiating.
A quote from Viktor Beker, economist at the University of Belgrano
After his electoral victory, Milei warned that inflation would not be brought under control for 18 to 24 months.
Will Argentinian wallets still be able to handle it? We have a lot of expectations, it’s a change! But it's a deep crisis, we have to give it time, Maria Guazu, 60, from Tucuman, more than 1,200 km away, told AFP on Sunday near Congress.
Remaining off-screen, for the moment, certain controversial positions of candidate Milei: his opposition to legalized abortion in 2021, or his denial of climate change as a human responsibility.
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