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ARGENTINA | 07-12-2023 07:08

Step-by-step: Javier Milei’s inauguration as president of Argentina

Argentina’s new leader will be proclaimed president in Congress, but has chosen to deliver his inaugural address from the steps of Congress before his supporters.

Javier Milei will be inaugurated on Sunday (December 10) as the new president of Argentina in front of the entire Legislative Assembly, but the La Libertad Avanza leader wants to deliver his inaugural speech before supporters on the steps of Congress.

The 53-year-old economist is seeking to break with recent tradition for his inauguration and his first act after assuming office will be to address the nation, lay out the crisis facing the nation and moderate expectations of a ‘quick fix’ for the economy.

The La Libertad Avanza leader wants to deliver these words directly to supporters, not politicians. The president-elect is eager to portray himself as a man of the people, not the “political caste” that he railed against so much on the campaign trail, according to sources within his party.

Afterwards, the new president intends to travel to the Casa Rosada, if possible some of the way on foot, before greeting foreign visitors and getting to work.


Ceremony

Sunday’s gathering of the Legislative Assembly (lawmakers from both chambers of Congress) will be first presided over by outgoing Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She will open proceedings by appointing the lawmakers who will take part in internal and external protocol committees and be in charge of welcoming Milei and Villarruel on the steps of Congress. 

At around 10.30am, Milei will be picked up by the General San Martín Regiment of Grenadiers on Horseback at the Hotel Libertador in downtown Buenos Aires. Accompanied by three representatives from the Armed Forces (Navy, Army and Air Force), the group will then make its way to Congress, arriving approximately half-hour later.

Argentines are expected to line the streets to welcome the new president and Milei has called on supporters to stage a ‘banderazo’ flag-waving demonstration outside Congress to celebrate the new era.

La Libertad Avanza party sources have briefed reporters that they expect a large number of people to turn out for the inauguration, given the strong support for Milei in the November 19 run-off.

A large security operation is expected in the area, with streets closed to traffic. Officers from the Federal Police (PFA), Border Guard (Gendarmerie), Coast Guard (Prefectura) and Airport Security Police (PSA) will all be deployed. The Casa Militar – a mix of military and civilian security personnel – are tasked with protecting the president and his family.

Upon arrival at Congress and after being welcomed on the steps of the esplanade, the president-elect will head to the Salón Azul, where he will meet up with Villarruel. After signing the “honour books” of both legislative chambers, the duo will be ushered into the Legislative Assembly, where the ceremony will take place.

Fernández de Kirchner will swear-in her successor, Villarruel, who in turn will then oversee the oath of office for Milei, with the pair formally assuming command of the nation.

The new head of state will then receive the sash and baton from outgoing President Alberto Fernández – a symbolic act of investiture (it is not formally provided for in law, but regulations established in 1960 foresee the handing over of presidential insignia).


Speech to supporters?

In his typically unpredictable style, Milei is still defining the order of proceedings, but if possible, he intends to ape the style of US presidential inaugurations and break with convention, delivering his first speech to supporters from the steps of Congress.

After his speech – which is expected to detail his “inheritance” from the previous government and point the way of his future government – Milei will board a Valiant convertible, the chosen replacement for the ’62 Series Cadillac which Juan Domingo Perón bought for inaugurations but never used (Milei requested this vehicle but was denied). Villarruel will get into another car and the presidential caravan will drive down Avenida de Mayo towards the Casa Rosada. 

According to libertarian party sources, Milei dreams of getting off at Avenida 9 de Julio and walking the final stretch to the Casa Rosada on foot, accompanied by those who backed him at the ballot-box.

Multiple news reports this week, quoting La Libertad Avanza party sources, said Milei wants to immerse himself in the crowds and is eager for recognition “from the people.” 

The security forces, however, are not keen. A long walk is opposed by the president’s security detail and they hope to convince him to limit his walk to just a few blocks. They prefer he walks from Cabildo, at the other end of Plaza de Mayo, to Government House.

After arrival at the Rivadavia esplanade of the Casa Rosada, the new head of state will be welcomed by the Casa Militar and escorted to the Salón Blanco, where President Alberto Fernández will make a final handover. 

Once inside the presidential palace, Milei will also meet and greet the foreign leaders and dignitaries who have travelled to Buenos Aires for the inauguration.

Among those confirmed to attend are Chile President Gabriel Boric, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, Paraguay’s President Santiago Peña, King Felipe VI of Spain, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, among others.

An interfaith religious celebration is scheduled for 1pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, located on one side of the Plaza de Mayo. At press time, it was unclear if Milei would attend.

At 5.30pm, the president will begin swearing-in his Cabinet ministers. A gala event at the Teatro Colón, to which all foreign dignitaries are invited, is scheduled for the end of the day. 

 

– TIMES/NA
 

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