Mauricio Macri was sworn in Thursday as Argentina's new president, marking the start of a new era after 12 years of the left-leaning policies of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner.
Macri, a business friendly conservative, took the oath of office in Congress. It was administered by incoming Senate speaker Federico Pinedo, who had served as provisional president after a court ruled Fernandez's term officially ended Wednesday.
As he took the oath, Macri said "today, a dream is being realized."
Leaving office Wednesday made it impossible for Fernandez to preside over Macri's inauguration ceremony. She became the first outgoing president to miss the event since the end of Argentina's military dictatorship in 1983.
Macri, the former major of Buenos Aires, ran on promises of lifting capital controls and trade restrictions to win investor confidence and bringing hard currency into Argentina's dollar-starved economy, Latin America's third largest. Inflation is around 30 percent, and domestic product growth is just above zero.
Late Wednesday, Fernandez made her farewell speech on Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo, thanking her supporters for their loyalty and calling on them to help preserve the achievements of her administration. Fernandez left office at midnight.
In her speech, Fernandez joked that she would "turn into a pumpkin" at midnight, when her term ended, and did not rule out a return to the presidential race in four years when the next elections are held.
Fernandez was barred by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term. Her chosen successor, Daniel Scioli, lost to Macri in a runoff election November 22.
Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.