Argentina enters a new era in its political history with the election of a far-right president. Economist Javier Milei, 53, candidate for La Libertad Avanza, obtained 55.7% of the votes in the runoff, compared to 44.2% for Peronist lawyer Sergio Massa, candidate for the Unión por la Patria coalition, with 94 % of tables computed.
The result indicates that Milei reaped the vast majority of the votes of the 23.8% that had been voted for the right-wing Patricia Bullrich, of Together for Change, in the first round. With this information, another winner of the election, one step below Milei, is the former conservative president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), who supported the far-right after the first round, at the cost of dismantling his own coalition.
The extremist obtained great victories, greater than forty percentage points, in relevant provinces due to their electoral weight such as Córdoba and Mendoza. He also won clearly in Santa Fe, the city of Buenos Aires and Patagonia.
Massa needed a comprehensive victory in the province of Buenos Aires to counteract the ultra’s advantage in the central zone. He didn’t get it, it was almost a tie. The Peronist’s advantage over Milei was just 1.5 percentage points in that province where 37% of Argentines reside.
The forcefulness of the extremist victory, greater than that predicted in the most favorable polls for Milei, led Massa to recognize defeat after eight in the afternoon (midnight in Spain), before the official data were released.
“I want to thank all those who in this discussion of two country proposals that were put into play: unions, social organizations, civil society organizations, and the moving micro-militancy in the subway (metro), in the neighborhood, house by house “said the candidate and Minister of Economy, escorted on stage in an artistic center in the Chacarita neighborhood by his wife, Malena Galmarini, the candidate for vice president, Agustín Rossi, and the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof , among other leaders.
In the previous days, Milei, Bullrich and those close to them had fueled the idea that the ruling alliance could commit fraud, something unthinkable in the Argentine electoral system, which has no record of this type in the last century.
Massa, circumspect, alluded to the topic: “Argentina has a solid democratic system, which is also transparent and always respects the results.”
The defeated candidate came out well in a Peronism subjected to years of an exhausting fight between the president, Alberto Fernández, and the vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is approaching her political decline. Both politicians have low approval ratings after a government that, through a pandemic, war and a historic drought, failed to reverse, and in some cases worsened, the social, exchange and debt crisis bequeathed by Macri in 2019.
“There were two paths. We choose the defense of the security system in the hands of the State (instead of the free sale of weapons); promote and defend the path of defense of public education and public health (before privatization) as central values,” said Massa with a measured message that places him as head of the opposition.
“We choose to defend the national industry, Argentine labor, our small businesses and workers with rights because it is the best way to build upward social mobility and progress for our nation,” he concluded.
The defeated candidate addressed “the eleven million Argentines who accompanied us.” “There are thousands and thousands of Argentines like those here who have the conviction and courage to defend this inclusive country in which we believe… with equal opportunities and a fair Argentina,” he said.
The Minister of Economy called Milei by phone to recognize the victory and reinforced that the president-elect must take responsibility and “give certainty and transmit guarantees” for the next three weeks, before the presidential inauguration, scheduled for December 10. .
Milei’s proposal for dollarization and virtual extinction of the State could trigger exchange rate and inflationary volatility, which are already high in Argentina, according to economists of all stripes.
President Fernández was one of the great absentees from the campaign along with who turned out to be the great opponent of his administration, Cristina. The head of state recognized the result and said he was willing, via Twitter, to “work in unity with all the sectors that make up the national movement that will always fight for a just, free and sovereign country.”
The right-wing Bullrich, meanwhile, expressed: “I congratulate you, from the bottom of my heart.” “She won the profound change that we have been working for for years,” she added.
The former conservative candidate, called to occupy a relevant position in the ultra executive, completed the turn of her political career. In the heat of the campaign for the first round, Milei had described her as a “murderous Montonera” and had accused her, falsely, of placing bombs in kindergartens, because Bulrich had been a left-wing Peronist in the 1970s. Her first two boyfriends remain missing. Five decades later, her life finds her supporting Milei and the vice president-elect, Victoria Villarruel, who are open deniers of state terrorism.
The accumulation of retrograde proposals from Milei and Villarruel promises to shake Argentine politics.
At the level of human rights, Villarruel is the leading voice of denialism and even the vindication of the military dictatorship that caused 30,000 disappearances between 1976 and 1983. The vice president-elect daily accuses the children, parents and brothers of the disappeared of being relatives of “terrorists”. This lawyer has spent almost three decades coordinating with detainee repressors and her lawyers, with whom she wrote books and spread her version of the story.
Villarruel anticipated that he will try to convert the site of historical memory located in the former Higher Mechanical School of the Navy, north of the Argentine capital, from which 5,000 Argentines disappeared during the dictatorship, into a public park “for all Argentines to enjoy.” .
Milei stated that he will try to reverse the law on voluntary termination of pregnancy passed in 2020, which will subject foreign policy to the axis of the United States and Israel, which will not have institutional relations with Brazil and China (Argentina’s two main trading partners) because their presidents are “communists”, who will privatize the strategic Fiscal Oil Fields (YPF) and who will apply a much greater spending cut than that demanded by the International Monetary Fund.
As for measures that the economist—emerged in a dazzling race from television screens due to insults and explicit violence—calls second and third generation, the sale of organs, children, streets, animals, rivers and seas are also on the agenda. .
To do this, he will need parliamentary majorities that he does not have, not even the support of the deputies and senators who respond to Macri.