Argentina’s Milei vows to push economic reforms with or without parliament

Argentina’s libertarian leader says he will ‘keep pushing forward’ with radical economic agenda.

Argentina’s libertarian President Javier Milei has promised to keep pushing his agenda of radical economic liberalisation with or without the support of parliament.

In a state-of-the-union-style address to lawmakers on Friday, Milei said he would “keep pushing forward” with a package of sweeping economic reforms aimed at jolting the country out of decades of dysfunction and decline.

“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,” Milei said.

“If you look for conflict, you will have conflict.”

Milei laid down the gauntlet to parliament after lawmakers last month rejected his omnibus reform bill despite tough negotiations with the opposition that reduced the number of proposed changes by nearly half.

In more conciliatory remarks to local governors, Milei called for a 10-point “social pact” that would overhaul the framework for distributing tax funds between the federal government and provinces.

Milei, who was elected resoundingly in a run-off election in November, began his term by devaluing the peso by more than 50 percent, slashing state subsidies for fuel and transport, cutting the number of ministries by half, and scrapping hundreds of regulations.

His government has claimed credit for tentative signs of economic revival, including the country’s first monthly budget surplus in 12 years and growing foreign currency reserves.

But sky-high inflation and Milei’s austerity measures have weighed heavily on Argentinians, prompting strikes and protests.

Milei, a self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist who has pledged to restore the dynamism of Argentina’s “golden age” during the early 20th century, took office warning Argentinians to prepare for a “shock adjustment” to fix the economy.

“I ask for patience and trust. It will be some time before we can perceive the fruit of the economic reorganisation and the reforms we are implementing,” Milei said in his address on Friday.

Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy, has stumbled between economic crises for decades, beset by enormous debt, widespread poverty and triple-digit inflation.

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