“A great goal” for the right in Latin America. This is how Argentine historian Ernesto Bohoslavsky assesses the election of Javier Milei, who beat Sergio Massa by 56% to 44%.
“He has open links with Trumpism and Bolsonarism, he represents the illusion of the Latin American right and he won in a landslide, without hiding what he thinks to appear moderate”, says Bohoslavsky, who is a professor at the National University of General Sarmiento (Buenos Aires ).
A specialist in the history of the right in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, he states that Milei is a huge novelty for his political field, both due to the size of his success at the polls and his lack of speaking out.
He cites as a counter-example the case of right-wing Mauricio Macri, who governed the country from 2015 to 2019, interrupting the 12-year administration of Peronists Nestor and Cristina Kirchner.
“Macri had some ideological ambiguity, he indicated that people would not lose rights. Milei was very clear, very transparent about privatizations, about people paying for university education. It is a victory not only electoral but also ideological. He did not wear other people’s clothes .”
Hence the idea that Milei could have an impact on the actions of the right in other countries, however, it is a distance that Bohoslavsky does not know if it will be covered.
For the historian, even though the victory is a stimulus for a political field shaken by the recent defeat of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in Brazil, the new president will need to deal with domestic problems – inflation and debt ahead – before getting involved in the arena International.
Furthermore, Milei’s promises regarding relations with other countries are hardly feasible for a country that needs money. Breaking with China and Brazil would be, in Bohoslavsky’s view, an excessive price for the Argentine people.
“And I have the impression that some people voted for Milei despite his ideas. In other words, thinking that he won’t do what he promised to do”, says the professor.
Deep down, he says, Milei “received support from people who thought he was preferable, but not preferred.” As a comparison, she says that Bolsonaro also benefited from a lot of anti-PTism, in addition to his most convinced voters.
This Monday, the elected president of Argentina reiterated some of his campaign speeches. Living up to his ultraliberal motto, he confirmed that he intends to privatize “everything that may be in the hands of the private sector”, in addition to closing the Central Bank and eliminating departments such as Culture, Women and Science and Technology.
Bohoslavsky considers that Milei treads on swampy ground when politicizing issues such as dictatorship, a novelty in Argentina, given the number of murders committed during the military regime.
“I don’t know if this contributes to unifying the vote or is a source of potential division. It clearly did not alienate more moderate voters in the campaign”, says the historian. “But it could be due to the predominance of anger [dirigida a quem está no poder] as emotion guiding behavior.”
Massa, the candidate defeated in the second round, is the current Finance Minister of a country whose 12-month inflation reached 142.7% in October, the highest value since 1991.