Saturday, March 2, 2024

ARGENTINA | 05-12-2023 16:16

Milei's narrative – maiden speech to focus on ‘inheritance’ and moderate expectations

Victorious presidential candidate will speak at his inauguration of the economic chaos left by the Alberto Fernández Presidency and why he will be unable to achieve results in the short term.

As this weekend’s formal presidential inauguration looms, Javier Milei is keeping his focus on an essential question: preparing his maiden speech.

With the presidential sash across his chest and words in a very specific direction, Milei intends to detail the brutal inheritance received, speak of the instrumentation of shock austerity and, above all, moderate the great expectations which he has aroused in Argentina.

With the data in his hand, the economist’s nationwide broadcast will go over, step by step, the state of the state left to him by President Alberto Fernández. For Milei, the key is “making the situation transparent” from the very first minute of his term, leaving no doubt that he has a red-hot iron in his hands and no other path than the harshest shock austerity since there is no room for gradualism, something which he anticipated on the day he beat Sergio Massa in the run-off in his first speech as president-elect.

But the La Libertad Avanza (LLA) leader will not limit himself only to an exhaustive diagnosis of the situation, he will also anticipate his first measures which are still being defined by the Economy Ministry, headed by Luis Caputo. Another key pillar of the libertarian’s discourse will be to calm the anxieties for short-term results. As somebody who knows the ex-deputy very well told Perfil, he will “definitely have to moderate expectations.”

Unlike his electoral partner Mauricio Macri, who campaigned in 2015 saying that inflation was a problem easily resolved and yet could not find any answers once installed in government, the incoming head of state will underline that it will take a lot of time and effort to stop prices going up, affirming that it is highly probable that no results of his policies will be seen for some time.

Some of these themes were picked up in recent days by LLA media spokespersons like Diana Mondino, the economist who will be Argentina’s next foreign minister, and Guillermo Francos, the front’s political operator entrusted with heading the Interior Ministry. Both leaders described the situation facing the country as “grave” since there is “no money,” adding that society should prepare for some belt-tightening.

Mondino, however, does not always stick to the script. While speaking at the UIA (Unión Industrial Argentina) conference about the problems related to the lack of energy, she recommended that citizens buy generators for the next summer and asked them to “hang on” for the next six months since then, “Argentina will be the best country in the world.” An idea not in line with the thinking of her political leader, who has mentioned a period of 18 to 25 months to defeat inflation and get the economy back on track.

Milei’s menu for the months to come includes a “master plan” of 1,500 laws aimed at deregulating the state, precisely the bills to be debated in Congress in extraordinary sessions. On this point libertarian sources advanced to Perfil that they will be working hard on the legislative agenda following the appointment of Martín Menem as lower house Speaker and Francisco Paoltroni as provisional president of the Senate.

The incoming president-elect faces a further challenge too – finalising his team, which is a mixture of winners and losers between his own troopers biting their tongues and electoral allies picking up important posts but wanting more. The shares of future vice-president Victoria Villarruel have dropped in the process of defining the team. Distanced from Milei and kept out of the inner circle of decision-makers, she wanted to control the Security and Defence portfolios via her maximum confidant Guillermo Montenegro but has instead seen opposition leader Patricia Bullrich return to the post she occupied in the Cambiemos era with her Radical running-mate Luis Petri handed the Defence Ministry. Villarruel also maintains expectations of a foothold in the AFI intelligence services (with Montenegro) although here she is running against Macri, who dreams of holding the same power over spies which he enjoyed between 2015 and 2019. 

Meanwhile, PRO hawks taste victory because they have landed two key portfolios with great protagonism and could end up with others like Health and PAMI healthcare scheme, which (as Perfil has revealed) could go to Cecilia Loccisano, the wife of Macri’s former Labour minister Jorge Triaca. The posts in dispute depend exclusively on a chat between the ex-president and Milei, which could happen soon, above all to try and ensure the healthiest coexistence possible given LLA heavyweight leaders like Francos, who take every opportunity they can to point out that PRO did not buy shares in the party which will be governing this country.

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Juan Pablo Kavanagh

Juan Pablo Kavanagh


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