Javier Milei, Argentina's newly inaugurated far-right president, has vowed to implement an economic "shock therapy" to address the nation's financial woes. In his first official address, Milei painted a stark picture of Argentina's economic landscape, emphasizing the absence of funds and the urgent need for stringent austerity measures.
This announcement comes on the heels of his unexpected victory in November's election, where he campaigned on a platform of radically overhauling the struggling South American economy. During his inaugural speech, the 53-year-old leader pledged to reverse what he termed as the country's "decadence" through significant spending cuts.
These measures are aimed at curbing the enormous public debt and soaring inflation, which, according to the BBC, has exceeded 140%. "The bottom line is that there is no alternative to austerity and there is no alternative to shock treatment," declared Milei, acknowledging the potential for short-term hardships but optimistic about long-term benefits.
A New Era of Governance and Symbolic Actions
The inauguration ceremony in Buenos Aires was not just a formal event but a display of Milei's commitment to his campaign promises. Accompanied by his sister Karina, expected to be a key figure in his administration, Milei greeted his supporters en route to the presidential palace.
In a symbolic gesture, he was adorned with a blue and white presidential sash and baton, personalized with engravings of his five dogs, illustrating his personal touch to the presidency. Milei's rise to power from relative obscurity has been meteoric.
His right-wing platform includes contentious policies like restricting abortion rights, liberalizing gun laws, and denying climate change. While his approach to governance remains to be seen, some analysts have noted a shift towards a more moderate tone since his election win.
However, within hours of assuming office, Milei signaled his intent to govern as assertively as he campaigned. He issued a decree to halve the number of government departments from 18 to nine, fulfilling a central campaign promise.
Reflecting the ethos of his intended policies, Milei often brandished a chainsaw at pre-election rallies, symbolizing the drastic cost-cutting measures he plans to implement in Argentina.