Argentina’s Javier Mille tells nation to brace for painful economic shock | political news

Newly inaugurated libertarian president warns 'there is no substitute for a shock adjustment’

Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, has warned his countrymen to prepare for painful austerity measures as he seeks to reverse decades of economic stagnation and decline.

Milei, who took office on Sunday after her upset election last month, used her inaugural speech to prepare Argentinians for short-term hardships to fix the biggest crisis in the country’s history.

Breaking with tradition, the 53-year-old economist returned his speech to his supporters in the legislature.

„There is no substitute for trauma adjustment,” Millay said after receiving the presidential baton and sash. „No money.”

The inauguration ceremony included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, right-wing former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Uruguay’s conservative leader Luis Lacal Poe and Chile’s leftist President Gabriel Boric.

Latin America’s third-largest economy has been reeling between crises for decades, struggling with annual inflation of more than 140 percent and a poverty rate of 40 percent.

The country owes $45 billion to the International Monetary Fund.

Known for his hard-right libertarian views, Miley has promised a series of drastic measures to fix the economy, including spending cuts equivalent to 5 percent of the economy and swapping the Argentine peso for the U.S. dollar.

A self-described „anarcho-capitalist,” Milei on Sunday reiterated that the state would bear the burden of getting the country’s finances in order.

„We know that in the short term, the situation will worsen, but we will soon see the fruits of our efforts, building a foundation for solid and sustainable growth,” he said.

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In one of her first moves in office, Milei announced on social media that she had signed a decree to halve the number of ministries from 18 to nine.

Miley, who has drawn comparisons to former US President Donald Trump, became famous for his diatribes and calls against the „thieves” political class of Argentina’s „Golden Age” in the early 20th century.

His anti-establishment message has struck a chord with Argentinians, particularly among the youth, after successive governments have turned one of the country’s wealthiest economies into a cautionary tale of economic mismanagement.

Millet decisively defeated former Economy Minister Sergio Massa of the center-left Peronist coalition in the November 19 runoff.

However, Miley has to negotiate with rivals to govern effectively as his coalition does not have a majority in the assembly.

There are signs that the political hero could soften his extreme stances.

His cabinet includes mainstream conservatives who favor ideological libertarians, while talk of closing the central bank and dollarization has dissipated in recent weeks.

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