Milei says he is ready to reform Argentina “with or without” support

Argentina’s ultraliberal President Javier Milei said Friday, in his first speech on the State of the Nation, that he was determined to push his reforms “with or without political support”, warning a hitherto reluctant Parliament that it is ready “for conflict”.

“We are going to change the country for good […] with or without the support of political leaders, with all the legal resources of the executive,” declared Mr. Milei in an offensive speech to parliamentarians, who at the beginning of February had rejected his ambitious reform package.

“If you seek conflict, you will have conflict,” he told them, specifying that “if the path of confrontation is not the one we choose, we do not flee it […] you will find yourself facing an animal different from those to which you are accustomed.”

However, the head of state for almost three months has extended a hand to the entire political class, to influential provincial governors, party leaders, ex-presidents, to forge a “new social contract” for the country, on the basis of ten eminently liberal principles: “non-negotiable” budgetary balance, “inviolable” private property, public spending reduced to the “historic” level of 25% of GDP, in particular.

A “May Pact”, as he called it, which would be signed in Cordoba, in the north of the country, symbolically on May 25, the anniversary of the 1810 revolution which led to the independence of the Argentina in 1816.

On the social level, Javier Milei asked the Argentines for “patience and confidence”, despite the impact of the first budgetary austerity measures (devaluation of more than 50%, price liberalization, end of numerous subsidies) which, in the short term , give a boost to inflation and lead to a decline in economic activity.

“There is still time before we can reap the fruits of the economic consolidation and reforms that we are implementing […] but for the first time in history, we are attacking the problem by its cause. For this, I ask you for patience and trust,” he said.

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