24 hours into Argentinian presidency, Javier Milei shuts Ministry of Culture

Javier Milei at his inauguration. Photo: Delfina Linares/Comunicación Senado

A day after his inauguration as Argentina’s new president, right-wing libertarian Javier Milei followed through with his election promise of closing the country’s Ministry of Culture.

Its slimmed-down budget and operations will be transferred to a new Ministry of Health and Human Capital, which also incorporates the former Ministries of Health; Social Development; Education; Labour; and Women, Gender and Diversity. It is to be headed by a Milei loyalist, former television producer Sandra Pettovello.

In one of Milei’s most successful election campaign videos the coiffured politician stands in front of a whiteboard peeling off stickers with the names of the ministries he planned to abolition, shouting “Out!” as he chucks each label on the floor. When he comes to the Ministry of Education he dubs it the “Ministry of Indoctrination”.

Swayed by such promises, and faced with staggering long-term inflation, in November, the candidate, who became famous as a Mick Jagger impersonating TV presenter, won 56 percent of the vote compared with 44 percent for his rival, the centre-left finance minister Sergio Massa.

The ceremony on Monday in which the new ministers were appointed was a private one, not televised and with press banned, breaking a tradition fostered since Argentina’s redemocratisation four decades ago.

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