Status: 10.12.2023, 18:38 PM
By: Nail Akkoyun
In the midst of an economic crisis, Javier Milei takes up his presidency in Argentina. The economist faces a Herculean task.
Buenos Aires – In the midst of a severe economic crisis, ultra-liberal economist Javier Milei has taken office as Argentina's president. The 53-year-old was sworn in on Sunday in front of the parliament in Buenos Aires. The outgoing head of state, Alberto Fernández, put the presidential sash on him.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Spain's King Felipe VI, Uruguay's head of state Luis Lacalle Pou, Paraguayan President Santiago Peña and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, among others, attended the ceremony in the Argentine capital. Sunday also marked the 40th anniversary of Argentina's return to democracy after the military dictatorship.
Javier Milei during his swearing-in as President of Argentina. © Alejandro Pagni/AFP
Radical change in Argentina? Milei is already backing away from some projects
Milei had won the election with eccentric behavior and radical demands for an economic and political U-turn. He announced that he would introduce the US dollar as legal tender, abolish the central bank and many ministries, and drastically cut social spending.
In the meantime, he has significantly moderated his tone and postponed or toned down many of his original plans. He also brought into his cabinet a number of experienced politicians whom he had previously reviled 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 the 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 many tax revenues. The peso, Argentina's national currency, continues to depreciate against the U.S. dollar, which only increases the mountain of debt. (nak/dpa)