Argentina’s new president warns of ‘shock treatment’ to restore country’s economic health

Dec 12, 2023 | 0 comments

Argentina’s new president has vowed to deliver economic “shock treatment” in his first speech after formally taking office.

Argentina President Javier Milei

Javier Milei warned Argentines “there is no money” and recommitted to a program of harsh austerity measures.
The populist outsider won a surprise election victory in November with radical pledges to overhaul the South American nation’s ailing economy.

Milei’s inauguration was held in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

In a day of pomp and ceremony, the 53-year-old capped his extraordinary rise to power with a speech which left Argentines in no doubt he intends to embark on an economic path unlike any previous president.

He said he would undo “decades of decadence” with deep spending cuts, designed to slash huge public debts and drive down inflation, which is now higher than 140%.

“The bottom line is that there is no alternative to austerity and there is no alternative to shock treatment,” Milei said. “We know that in the short term the situation will worsen. But then we will see the fruits of our efforts.”

Milei has risen rapidly from relative obscurity to Argentina’s highest office on a right-wing platform which includes restricting abortion rights and liberalizing gun laws.

During the campaign he said he would replace Argentina’s currency with the dollar and abolish the country’s central bank, along with a host of government departments.

Milei waved to supporters during a procession to the presidential palace alongside his sister Karina, the confidant who is expected to play an influential role behind the scenes in his new administration.

He addressed the crowd for a second time from a balcony and chanted campaign slogans.

Milei was presented with the blue and white presidential sash and baton, which he had personalized with engravings of his five dogs.

Among the guests was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has met several Latin American leaders as he seeks to shore up global support for his country’s war effort.

The pair were pictured embracing and Zelensky later told reporters they had discussed ways Argentina could support Ukraine.
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Credit: BBC News

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