His legions of fans call him “the madman” and “the wig” due to his ferocity and unruly mop of hair. He refers to himself as “the lion.” He thinks sex education is a Marxist plot to destroy the family, views his cloned mastiffs as his “children with four paws” and has suggested people should be allowed to sell their own vital organs.
He is Javier Milei, Argentina’s next president.
A few years ago, Milei was a television talking head whom bookers loved because his screeds against government spending and the ruling political class boosted ratings. At the time, and up until mere months ago, hardly any political expert believed he had a real shot at becoming president of South America’s second-largest economy.
But Milei, a 53-year-old economist, has rocked Argentina’s political establishment and inserted himself into what has long been effectively a two-party system by amassing a groundswell of support with his prescriptions of drastic measures to rein in soaring inflation and by pledging to crusade against the creep of socialism in society.
At the heart of his economic plan for Argentina is a proposal to replace the local currency, the peso, with the U.S. dollar. He has repeatedly said the only way to end the scourge of inflation, which has topped 140%, is to prevent politicians from continuing to print money. As such, he plans to extinguish the Central Bank.
A self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” Milei’s libertarianism was a novelty for Argentina. He has spoken in favor of loosening the country’s labor laws and promoted a vision of starkly smaller government to boost economic growth. That entails eliminating half of the government ministries, including health and education. As a symbol of the deep cuts he champions, he has at times campaigned with a revving chainsaw in hand.
Reducing the state’s size dovetails with his calls for the “political caste” to be purged from Argentina’s government, much as former U.S. President Donald Trump spoke of “draining the swamp” in reference to the entrenched establishment. Milei has often drawn comparisons to Trump, a leader he openly admires. [Continue reading…]
The President-elect of Argentina seems a bit excitable. pic.twitter.com/nxnzVkcVce
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 20, 2023
Luminaries of the global far right are in raptures over Javier Milei’s thumping election victory in Argentina which experts predict will turn Buenos Aires into a new stomping ground for the populist radical right.
Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro led the merrymaking after their Argentinian ally trounced his rival, the Peronist finance minister Sergio Massa, by nearly 3 million votes in Sunday’s presidential election. The former US president predicted Milei would “truly make Argentina great again” while Brazil’s ex-president applauded a victory for “honesty, progress and freedom”. Bolsonarista and Mileísta activists predicted Milei’s win would be the first in a trio of rightwing conquests that would see Trump and Bolsonaro reclaim power in 2024 and 2026.
In his first post-victory interview on Monday, Milei announced he would travel to the US and Israel – where he has promised to move Argentina’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – before being sworn in on 10 December, alongside his ultra-conservative vice-president elect Victoria Villarruel. [Continue reading…]