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Javier Milei: “There is no money. There is no alternative to adjustment, to shock” in Argentina

Javier Milei, a 53-year-old ultra-liberal economist, warned Argentines that it will be necessary to make a tough fiscal adjustment that will involve sacrifices, but that will ultimately bear fruit, when he assumes the presidency this Sunday. “There is no money, there is no alternative to adjustment, there is no alternative to shock”, exclaimed Milei in front of thousands of people who gathered to listen to him in the square in front of Congress. “In the short term the situation will worsen, but later we will see the fruits of our efforts,” she added.

Oblivious to traditional politics, which he derogatorily refers to as “the caste”, The president chose to give his speech outside the Parliament premises, in front of a crowd of followers and guests. Among them were several leaders such as the Chilean Gabriel Boric and the Paraguayan Santiago Penathe Ukrainian Volodimir Zelensky and the Hungarian Viktor Orbánbesides the king of Spain, Philip VI.

WATCH: LIVE Javier Milei takes office as the new president of Argentina on a historic day for the country

Upon taking office, he followed protocol and He swore “by God and country upon these holy gospels”. Then He received the sash and baton from the hands of the outgoing president, Alberto Fernández. At his side, the vice president, Victoria Villarueltook the same oath.

Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, receives the presidential sash from outgoing president Alberto Fernández during his inauguration ceremony in Congress. (EFE/ Demian Alday Estevez). (Demian Alday Estevez/)

“Today is a celebration that we all deserve, we have to leave corruption behind, this is over. I think that from now on we will evolve. I don’t believe there is a worse government than the one that existed, if this works, 50% is enough. I will give as much time as necessary,” Fabián Armilla, a 60-year-old judicial employee, told AFP.

“Let’s make Argentina great”

At the end of his speech, Milei got into a black convertible together with her sister Karina to travel the two kilometers that separate the Congress from the Casa Rosada, headquarters of the presidency, where his ministers will be sworn in.

He walked some distances and sometimes stopped to greet people and also to pet a dog.

So the president He went out to the balcony of the Casa Rosada to greet those who were in the Plaza de Mayo. “Hello everyone, I am the lion,” he sang exultantly before letting out his signature scream: “Long live freedom, damn it!”

“Today we, good Argentines, decree the end of the communist night and the rebirth of a prosperous and liberal Argentina”he said.

“We will rise up and make Argentina great again,” he shouted in another of his usual slogans.

The new president of Argentina, Javier Milei, gives a speech after taking the oath during his inauguration ceremony in front of Congress in Buenos Aires, on December 10, 2023. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

The new president of Argentina, Javier Milei, gives a speech after taking the oath during his inauguration ceremony in front of Congress in Buenos Aires, on December 10, 2023. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP) (LUIS ROBAYO/)

Forced to reconcile

Third economy in Latin America, Argentina records annualized inflation above 140% and a poverty rate of over 40%. To face this crisis, Milei proposes drastic measures to cut public spending, reduce the State and liberalize in a country accustomed for years to subsidies and fiscal deficits.

“Today a new era begins in Argentina, an era of peace and prosperity, an era of growth and development, an era of freedom and progress,” Milei guaranteed it in her speech. “No government has received a worse inheritance than the one we are receiving,” she added.

Milei said that the fiscal adjustment will be equivalent to 5% of Gross Domestic Product. The number of ministries will also decrease, from 18 to just nine.

“I think it will be difficult in the first few years, he already anticipated it and given the situation in the country, but I have a lot of faith in him,” said Federica Diggiano, a 20-year-old student outside Parliament.

Advances of FreedomMilei’s far-right party is only the third minority in Congress, which forces him to reconcile many of his reforms with other political forces.

“There is an attempt to expand the coalition and expand the government’s legislative support a little more. But all of this has a price. If he negotiates, it won’t be so anti-caste,” political scientist Diego Reynoso told AFP.

“Fireproof”

The president will, however, have the freedom to decide on the devaluation of the peso and some spending reduction measures. Dollarization, the central theme of his campaign, was suspended pending the first results of his economic plan.

“The first decisive test for the president will be to decide whether he will actually stop issuing (money) or whether he will adopt a more pragmatic stance and leave the objective of non-issuance until later,” economist Víctor Beker told AFP. ., from the University of Belgrano.

After warning that there is probably stagflation During the first days of his government, Milei guaranteed that he would maintain social assistance for those most in need.

“There will be this inflation, it’s true, but it’s no different from what happened in the last 12 years. There will be light at the end of the road”, Milei also said.

Source: Elcomercio

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