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South America: Ultra-liberal Milei sworn in as President of Argentina

South America: Ultra-liberal Milei sworn in as President of Argentina

Javier Milei won the election with eccentric behavior and radical demands. Now his term of office begins. Nobody knows what to really expect from the ultra-liberal economist.

In the midst of a severe economic crisis, the ultra-liberal economist Javier Milei took office as Argentine president. The 53-year-old was sworn in in front of the parliament in Buenos Aires. The outgoing head of state Alberto Fernández put the presidential sash on him.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj, Spain’s King Felipe VI, Uruguay’s head of state Luis Lacalle Pou, Paraguayan President Santiago Peña and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban came to the Argentine capital for the ceremony. The same day also marks the 40th anniversary of Argentina’s return to democracy after military dictatorship.

Milei won the election with eccentric behavior and radical demands for an economic and political turnaround. He announced that he would introduce the US dollar as legal tender, abolish the central bank and many ministries and drastically cut social spending. He has now significantly moderated his tone and postponed or toned down many of his original plans. He also brought a number of experienced politicians into his cabinet, whom he had previously vilified as members of the “caste” he despised. Since he does not have a majority in parliament, Milei is dependent on alliances anyway.

Argentina is currently experiencing a severe economic crisis. The inflation rate is over 140 percent, and around 40 percent of people in the once rich country live below the poverty line. South America’s second largest economy suffers from a bloated state apparatus, low industrial productivity and a large shadow economy that deprives the state of a lot of tax revenue. The national currency, the peso, continues to lose value against the US dollar and the mountain of debt is constantly growing.

Source: Stern

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