Milei will govern “with or without the support of the political leadership.”

The President of Argentina, Javier Mileisaid in his opening speech to Congress this Friday that he would go all out on his ultra-liberal reforms “with or without the support of the political leadership.”

“Our convictions are unchangeable, we will put the public finances in order with or without the help of the rest of the political leadership,” said the president, assuring that he would use “all legal resources of the national executive power” if Congress does not agree to his reforms.

“If we encounter an obstacle, we will not turn back, we will continue to accelerate,” said the President to cheers.

“If they look for conflict, they will have conflict,” he added.

Milei summarized the actions of his first 82 days in office, during which he implemented draconian budget adjustments. The accelerated rise in food and drug prices was compounded by the elimination of subsidies in public services, which led to an abrupt adjustment in tariffs.

To Argentines suffering from inflation of more than 250% year-on-year and poverty affecting more than 50% of the population, “I ask for patience and trust,” the president said.

“It will take some time before we can see the fruits of the economic consolidation and the reforms we are implementing,” he assured. “We have not yet seen all the effects of the disaster we have inherited, but we are convinced that we are on the right track because for the first time in history we are attacking the problem for its cause: the budget deficit, and not because of his symptoms. “It will take some time before we can see the fruits of the economic consolidation and the reforms we are implementing,” he assured. “We have not yet seen all the effects of the disaster we have inherited, but we are convinced that we are on the right track because for the first time in history we are attacking the problem for its cause: the budget deficit, and not because of his symptoms.

Pro-government MP José Luis Espert told AFP at the end of the speech that it was good to “put all the meat on the grill” to make the plan clear; while for opposition representative Myriam Bregman it was “an excuse not to talk about reality”.

The speech took place at 9:00 p.m. local time (00:00 GMT) amid a heavy security operation as hundreds of people protested against the adjustment measures outside the doors of Congress.

“It makes my stomach turn,” said Elba Sarmiento, a 37-year-old artisan. “What is happening is terrible. This is an annihilation of the poor.”

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“May Pact”

The president called on the entire political spectrum to sign a new treaty “social contract” of ten points already established, including the “inviolable” defense of private property and the “non-negotiable” budget balance.

Milei called for the “May Pact” to be signed in the province of Córdoba on the 25th of this month, the anniversary of the 1810 revolution that led to Argentina’s independence from the Spanish crown in 1816.

“He doesn’t tell them (legislators) directly that he will rule by decree, although he threatens them by saying that the laws will be made by Congress or by decree, but he offers them a closed pact,” he said told AFP. Iván Schuliaquer, political scientist at the National University of San Martín.

“He suggests that the only valid will of the people is the will of the people who voted for him, and not for the governors or the representatives and senators.” he added.

On the other hand, the expert considered that by proposing an upcoming political pact, Milei “sets a horizon for politics in three months, knowing full well that the economy of the majority of people will be worse off in these months.”

Milei himself had said in an interview that “the worst (of the adjustment) will come in March and April; We will hit rock bottom and then recover.”

“Useful idiots”

Ten days after taking office, Milei had launched a presidential decree (DNU) that amended or repealed more than 300 regulations for deep deregulation of the economy, but the initiative accumulated dozens of precautionary measures that question its constitutionality and became its working chapter through suspended justice.

He then sent the so-called “Omnibus Law” with 664 articles to Congress, but the project did not receive sufficient support in Congress and Milei ordered its withdrawal.

He then described the political opposition leaders who criticized the DNU as “useful idiots.” He classified as traitors the deputies, his own and others, who did not agree to the articles of the “Omnibus Law”.

The International Monetary Fund, which predicts Argentina’s economic contraction of 2.8% in 2024, welcomed the measures taken by the government but recommended that they be aimed at protecting the poorest social sectors.

In 2018, under the presidency of Mauricio Macri, Argentina borrowed $57,000 million from the organization, of which it received just over $44,000 million under a program still ongoing.

AFP

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