Argentina stopped this Sunday (10) to watch the inauguration of new president Javier Milei, the far-right dark horse who declares himself an anti-politics libertarian and promises to cut spending and reduce the size of the State. He beat Kirchnerist Sergio Massa by a narrow margin of 55.95% of the votes.
Former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) participated in the ceremony in a prominent location, on the stage, alongside heads of state. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, was also present.
For the first time in 40 years, the Brazilian president did not go to Buenos Aires for the ceremony. Lula (PT), attacked by Milei during the electoral campaign, sent his chancellor, minister Mauro Vieira, to represent Brazil.
In his first speech, Milei stated that “a new era has begun in Argentina” and announced the end of what he called a “sad story of decadence and decline.” The president promised strong fiscal adjustments and said he will fight to end inflation.
“Regrettably, I have to tell you that there is no money,” said Milei, breaking protocol and speaking outside Congress, and not inside, as is usually the case.
:: Argentina: after the verbiage of the campaign, Milei must give in to Macri and the financial market ::
“The conclusion is that there is no alternative to adjustment and shock. Naturally, this will have a negative impact on the mode of employment activity, on real wages, on the number of poor and indigent people. There will be inflation, but nothing different from what we saw in last 12 years. This is the last bitter medicine to begin the reconstruction of Argentina. There will be light at the end of the path”, declared the politician.
Milei’s “bitter medicine” has no proven effectiveness
Argentina remains immersed in an acute socioeconomic crisis, with inflation of 140% per year, a very devalued currency and poverty that affects 40% of the population. Milei will have to find a way to get the country out of the quagmire, but promises an ultra-liberal prescription that only worsened the economic conditions of populations where it was applied.
Ideas floated by Milei during part of the campaign, such as adopting the dollar as currency and closing the Central Bank are no longer on the agenda. At least not publicly.
Experts interviewed by Brasil de Fato think that Milei’s government will be, in essence, similar to that of former president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019) and that he should find a favorable scenario at the beginning of his term, because he will have a “spoon of tea” of the financial market to try to put the house in order.
If he succeeds, and if socioeconomic indicators improve in a sustained manner, Milei will have a good excuse to leave his most radical proposals in the drawer, under the argument that they are no longer necessary.
Editing: José Eduardo Bernardes