Javier Milei was sworn in as Argentina's new president on Sunday during a ceremony in Congress in front of outgoing Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK), who once again made headlines for giving the middle finger to supporters of the new leader as she entered the building. Milei received the presidential sash from his predecessor, Alberto Fernández. Minutes later, Victoria Villarruel was sworn in as the new vice president.
Contrary to previous practice, Milei chose to make his first speech outside of Congress, addressing the crowd rather than the Legislative Assembly (both houses together). Some analysts saw this as a gesture to show that Milei would only rule for those who voted for him, while Libertarians said it proved that Milei was committed to the people and not the political caste sitting in Parliament.
In his message, Milei acknowledged stagflation and a fall in employment and wages were looming over but insisted it was necessary because there was no money left. In addition, he said that after two years the results were to be seen.
In his speech, the new President said that he will receive the worst inheritance in Argentine history. To support his claim, he raised figures on inflation, school dropouts, delinquency and poverty, all of which were either false or exaggerated.
There is no turning back. Today, we bury decades of failure, and senseless disputes, fights that the only thing they have achieved is to destroy our beloved country and leave us in ruins, Milei argued.
At the beginning of the 20th century we were the beacon of light of the West. Unfortunately our leadership decided to abandon the model that had made us rich and embraced the impoverishing ideas of collectivism, he also pointed out.
No es casualidad que esta inauguración presidencial ocurra durante la fiesta de Jánuca— Corta (@somoscorta) December 10, 2023
Durante su discurso, Javier Milei comparó su asunción con la Fiesta de las Luces: La guerra de los macabeos es el símbolo del triunfo de los débiles por sobre los poderosos. pic.twitter.com/W4eBEkuEUo
Just as the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of a tragic era for the world, these elections have marked the turning point in our history, the new president argued.
With financial markets closed and the IMF agreement fallen due to defaults by the outgoing government, the debt rollover is challenging even for mythical Cyclops, the Libertarian leader sought to explain.
There is no room for discussion between shock and gradualism. All gradualism programs ended badly, while all shock programs except the 1959 program were successful, he also pointed out.
There is no alternative to adjustment and shock. Naturally that will impact negatively on the level of activity, employment, real wages, the number of poor and indigent. There will be stagflation, he admitted while promising there would be light at the end of the road.
He then quoted former two-time Argentine President Nothing great, nothing stable and lasting is conquered in the world when it comes to the freedom of men and the aggrandizement of the peoples if it is not at the cost of supreme efforts and painful sacrifices. Milei then insisted that we have no alternative and we have no time either; we have no margin for sterile discussions, our country demands action and immediate action.
It's not going to be easy, 100 years of failure are not undone in a day. But one day begins and today is that day, Milei underlined as he heralded a different country in which the State does not direct our lives, but rather watches over our rights.