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Conservative Macri sworn in as Argentine president

Mauricio MacriBusiness-friendly conservative Mauricio Macri was sworn in as Argentina’s new president Thursday, turning the page on 12 years under left-wing power couple Nestor and Cristina Kirchner.

The oath of office was administered by incoming Senate speaker Federico Pinedo, who had served as provisional president since midnight after a court ruled Kirchner’s term officially ended on Wednesday.

Kirchner, irate over the spat, boycotted the inauguration along with her allies in Congress.

“This government will know how to defend freedom, which is essential for democracy,” Macri vowed in an inaugural address that laid out a sweeping agenda for change.

He also promised to fight “untiringly for those who need it most,” a nod to his campaign pledges to keep the Kirchners’ popular social programs.

Macri, 56, won a November 22 run-off election against Kirchner’s chosen successor, Daniel Scioli.

The son of a wealthy businessman, he rose to fame as the president of Argentina’s most popular football club, Boca Juniors, during a storied string of trophy wins.

The mayor of Buenos Aires since 2007, he won election at the head of a coalition called “Let’s Change.”

He has vowed to reboot Latin America’s third-largest economy, which is slumping toward recession, by ending protectionist import restrictions, cutting heavy taxes on agricultural exports and scrapping the official exchange rate puffing up the Argentine peso.



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