Published 20/11/2023 11:49 | Edited 11/22/2023 07:46
The new elected president of Argentina, Javier Milei, won the votes with rhetoric that promises “radical change”, which will certainly face resistance from traditional political sectors, Peronism and social movements. The victory marks a new chapter in Argentine politics, characterized by polarization between Peronist and non-Peronist parties in recent decades. Although he defines himself as “an error in the system”, Milei speaks of recipes for “radical changes”, which are nothing more than old and already tested ingredients that failed under neoliberal governments.
In a speech after the victory, Milei highlighted the need to understand that the political system has changed and that society reflects a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction. “What’s coming is a new model that politicians still don’t understand,” said Milei. In fact, the difficulty of the current Peronist government in overcoming the legacy of the dismantling of the economy promoted by the previous government, under Maurício Macri, ended up fermenting a stew of dissatisfaction that turned against the candidacy of the situation.
However, the president-elect’s “new model” is nothing more than a radicalization of what Macri was already heading towards dismantling the state, reducing social spending and handing over public assets to the private sectors. None of this, however, will be possible to achieve if there is no support from Argentina’s democratic institutions.
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The director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva this morning congratulated the new president-elect, hoping to “work closely with him and his administration” with the aim of “safeguarding macroeconomic stability” and “strengthening growth”. It wasn’t even necessary, as Milei has already guaranteed that he will implement an austerity program much larger than the current one, that is, he will do more than what the IMF asks.
Milei will have to deal with the enormous expectations he creates by announcing so much extremism in the reforms, by highlighting the need to end the current economic model and seek solutions to get the country off artificial respirators and hyperinflation. According to him, the previous government issued billions of dollars in assistance programs, but was unable to reverse the crisis, which signals a reversal of social policies that guarantee some social balance in the midst of the crisis.
In 48 hours, agreements that have artificially low prices on more than 50,000 products essential to Argentines’ daily consumption through the so-called Fair Prices program expire. In the last four years, gas, electricity and transport tariffs have lagged behind the evolution of prices in general in the economy, which was compensated by an increase in State subsidies. Fuels are also delayed, while production lines are starting to lack essential inputs.
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The government transition, which will take place on December 10, will involve meetings between Milei and current president Alberto Fernández. There is speculation about changes in ministries, including the Central Bank and the Treasury, while Minister Sergio Massa’s future role in the transition remains uncertain.
Milei’s economic agenda includes violent proposals for the economy, such as dollarization and the end of sovereign monetary policy, freezing the supply of pesos and changes to the country’s financial structure, ending taxes on the richest and unrestricted opening of the economy to imports. , which is expected to devastate local industry and jobs. The challenge will be to implement these changes without generating immediate adverse impacts, especially in essential sectors such as supply and production. Hundreds of economists from Argentina and other parts of the world signed manifestos pointing to the impacts of these irresponsible policies.
Some of the future ministers have already been announced, with emphasis on Emilio Ocampo, who will lead the transition at the Central Bank, and Guillermo Ferraro, who will assume the Infrastructure portfolio. Sandra Pettovello, possible Minister of Human Capital, will oversee crucial areas such as education, health and labor.
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The business sector’s response to Milei’s victory is varied, with businesspeople promoting the post-election future and celebrating the result, while others, who have closer relationships with the government, as they are suppliers, express concerns about the impact on their activities. . Those who applaud the result, like the American Elon Musk, celebrate the “freedom” to charge whatever price they want on products that are under subsidy control. Before speaking to the country, Milei received public congratulations from Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, two leaders of the international far right that the new president admires.
The new government will face significant challenges, including the need to revitalize the economy, deal with accumulated debt and manage expectations of change in a historically divided Argentine political landscape.
The president-elect knows that in the coming weeks he will have to renegotiate the pact with Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullrich, with whom he met privately this Sunday after giving his winning speech. At the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, they embraced as if they had shared the struggle of a lifetime together. So far, the Libertarians and the Pros have only tried to coexist to control the second round. However, no one doubts that Milei will open the doors to her new partners, at least importing personnel from her teams to nourish her cabinet.
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He will also seek to count on them to gain strength in Congress, after all, his party is an “overwhelming minority” in parliaments. Behind the scenes, there is talk that Milei is calmer about his governance after the meeting with Macri and Bullrich.
Freedom Forward won in 21 of the 24 provinces and was on the verge of conquering even the Kirchnerist stronghold of Buenos Aires. He totaled more than 6 million votes compared to October, in an almost en bloc transfer of the Macri and Bullrich flow. Córdoba was once again the capital of anti-Kirchnerism, with almost 75% of the votes in favor of Milei. Mendoza finished 71/29. Santa Fe, 63/37.
In the aftermath of Javier Milei’s victory in the presidential elections, the former presidential candidate of the Left Unity Front (FITU), Myriam Bregman, announced this Sunday that she will lead mobilizations against the new president. On his old Twitter account, Bregman expressed his intention to “confront the forces of heaven with the strength of mobilization in the streets”.
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Javier Milei warned in his post-victory speech that many will resist the changes proposed from December 10th, when he takes office. He said that “all Argentines and all leaders who wish to join the new Argentina will be welcome,” but he did not dedicate a single line to the 11.5 million citizens who did not vote for him. He highlighted that, for those who resist, their actions must remain within the law, and outside it will not be tolerated. It has already announced brutal repression of protests against the government.
“To those who resist, I say: everything within the law, outside of it, nothing,” said Milei, highlighting that the resistance comes from those who seek to maintain privileges. He has made clear that his government will be ruthless in any attempt to use force to preserve these privileges.
Gabriel Solano, leader of the Partido Obrero (PO), which competed in the August primary elections and lost to Bregman, also spoke out about Milei’s intentions. Solano warned that the proposals for labor reform, healthcare privatization and changes in education announced by Milei could generate a significant popular reaction.
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Among the parties that make up the FITU, only Izquierda Socialista asked for votes for the Minister of Economy, while Bregman, Solano and the MST (Socialist Workers’ Movement) only criticized the current government and now blame it for the defeat. The organization, led by Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, union leader of the railway union, called for “confronting the chainsaw plan against the working people” after the president-elect’s speech.
It is evident that the left-wing political forces, represented by Bregman, Solano and organizations such as the MST, are not willing to passively accept the changes proposed by Milei and promise resistance in the streets against what they see as threats to labor and social rights. The Argentine political scenario remains tense, reflecting the deep divisions in society regarding the country’s political and economic direction.
Cristina Kirchner remains silent, but is preparing to regain her role as leader of the opposition, and even of the largest sector of deputies and senators that populated Massa’s lists. This week she will go to Italy, where she hopes to be received by Pope Francis and give a public speech on the state of democracy in the world.
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Peronism is open to a reconfiguration after the failure of Fernández – another absentee on election night. It maintains a majority of opposition in both chambers of Congress and at least 8 governors with whom Milei will have to live. Milei has only 38 of the 257 national deputies and 7 of the 72 senators. None of the governors respond directly to him. Permanent negotiation will be the inevitable mark of the new era.
Kirchnerism felt the impact of the disappointing count in the province of Buenos Aires, where Massa won by just one and a half points. He needed – according to previous calculations – a 15-point advantage to sustain his dream.