by Maurizio Sacchi
The new President of Argentina is Javier Milei, the ‘anarcho-capitalist’. With the counting of the ballots still underway, the parties give the right-wing candidate around 56%, compared to 44% for his opponent, the Peronist candidate Sergio Massa. An impossible margin to overturn, so much so that Massa himself called Milei to congratulate him. With a turnout of 76 per cent, the support of Juntos por el Cambio, the coalition led by former president Mauricio Macri, whose candidate Patricia Bullrich was excluded from the run-off, was crucial for Milei. In particular, the traditionally right-wing province of Cordoba gave the ultra-liberal and reactionary economist a decisive boost.
Milei is part of the Madrid Forum, animated by the Spanish far-right Vox. He has declared Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro to be his role models and says he wants to break Argentina’s relations with “communist countries like Brazil” and China. He has called Pope Francis a ‘friend of bloodthirsty dictators’, an ‘incarnation of communism’ or even a ‘representative of evil on earth and a usurper’, and only apologised after the scandal he caused.
Among his most disturbing political programmes is the abolition of the Ministries of Education and Health, leading to total privatisation. And the adoption of the dollar as the national currency, suppressing the Central Bank of Argentina. These were issues that had a strong media impact, capturing the desperation of a country looking for an alternative to an inflation rate of 140 per cent a year. There was strong disillusionment with Peronism, which had seen inflation rise from 50 per cent to the current exaggerated figure during the four years of Fernandez’s presidency. Widespread patronage also played in favour of Milei, who, following a tried and tested script, declared his desire to destroy the political caste and presented himself as a new man, immune to the vices of the past.
On the cover photo, the new President of Argentina, Javier Milei©Vox España