ARGENTINA. ANGER WINS THE ELECTIONS
(December 24, 2023)
BUENOS AIRES. Anger wins the elections in Argentina and brings yet another political adventurer to the presidency of the Republic: Javier Gerardo Milei, 52 years old, professor of economics, but above all star of television talk shows.
With 14.5 million votes, equal to 55.69%, he humiliates Sergio Tomás Massa, outgoing Minister of Economy, the only member of the ruling class who had the guts to face popular anger, running for president and qualifying for the runoff: a month ago he won the first round with 36.68%; in the second round, he did nothing against the alliance between the new and the old right.
The final outcome of the presidential race was influenced by the economic data of Argentina, a rich country, populated by a middle class heavily impoverished by a completely unsuccessful economic policy.
LA LIBERTAD AVANZA, CARAJO!
Milei wins in 21 provinces out of 24: he lost only in Santiago del Estéro, Formosa and the Province of Buenos Aires.
Indeed, in the PBA, the area where 40% of the electorate on which Massa was counting to subvert the predictions lives, things went particularly badly for him: he prevailed by a handful of votes (50.7-49.3%).
In this way, he is unable to compensate for the enormous gaps inflicted on him by his opponent in the other provinces: in Córdoba, an industrialized province, governed by Juan Schiaretti, a conservative Peronist and enemy of Kirchnerism, he obtains only 26%, in Mendoza 30%, in Tucumán , historic Peronist bastion, 42%.
In Buenos Aires city, out of 135 municipalities, he only wins 26, leaving 109 to his opponent.
Once again, the previous polls which attributed a slight advantage to the “local” have been refuted, leading to the possibility of a vote-by-vote battle.
“Today the reconstruction of Argentina begins,” Milei said on election night, adding that “within 35-40 years the country will occupy the place it had at the end of the nineteenth century and which it should never have lost.”
Finally he shouted: «La libertad Avanza, carajo!»
WITHOUT MAJORITY OR PARTY
The new President was able to win above all thanks to the support of the traditional right: after the first round, in fact, the former head of state Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullrich, candidate of Juntos por el Cambio, who came third in October, had promised him their votes: which duly happened.
However, La Libertad Avanza (LLA), his party, has few seats in parliament: 30 out of 257 in the Hosue and 8 out of 72 in the Senate.
Furthermore, in the Argentine republic as a whole, it can count on the support of six mayors out of 2119 and no provincial governor.
So he will have to form a coalition with JxC and some of its leaders are already clearly saying that many of the proposals he announced during the election campaign have no chance of seeing the light of day.***
For what reasons did the Argentines put themselves in the hands of a man who has very limited political experience, has only been a member of parliament for two years, and has formulated a program that envisages massive privatizations in a country where the presence of the state is very strong?
Most commentators point out that one of the characteristics of Argentina’s “electoral rebellion” is anger.
143% annual inflation, 40% impoverished population, 44 billion dollars of debt that certainly cannot be paid, -7 billion of reserves kept in the Central Bank… This is the photograph of a nation very proud of itself, hit hard by the 2008 crisis from which it never recovered.
In these conditions:
• young people, who are currently the most enthusiastic supporters of “Loco”, cannot travel abroad, study at a foreign university;
• the elderly receive increasingly devalued pensions;
• the productive classes, to make ends meet, are forced to do more than one job at the same time for wages that don’t compensate for the cost of living.
The anger, in this context, is understandable: what is striking is that it was the right that took the leadership of the revolt.
Pablo Stefanoni notes “The new right it’s on the offensive almost everywhere in the world: by adopting new languages, references and methods of action, it’s creating a violent and noisy counterculture.
It combines nationalism and anti-state sentiments, racism and sexism and hints at the LGBTQ community, climate skepticism and environmental concerns… Their most surprising avatars: anarcho-capitalism, transhumanist libertarianism, gay masculinism, femonationalism, ecofascism… All theories that have a remarkable ability to penetrate public opinion also thanks to the new media.”
It went completely unnoticed that Milei, supposedly a radical enemy of the “caste”, in just a few hours entered into an alliance with the traditional right with which he was able to win.
Thus, in the second phase of the electoral campaign, the slogan “que se vayan todos” was above all directed towards Kirchnerism, that political current that has dominated Peronism since 2003.
In this way, an observation is confirmed that many observers of the Latin American reality make every time a vote is held: at every election call, the loser is “officialism”.
In South American political jargon, this expression normally refers to the party or coalition in government at the time of the vote.
Without going too far back in time, in the last two years this is what has happened throughout the subcontinent, with the exception of the dictatorships (El Salvador, Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela) and Paraguay, where the Colorados have kept their rule intact for almost eighty years power system.
However, the anger aroused in the people by the inability of the rulers, always inept and corrupt, it sometimes brings to power people with no political experience who soon demonstrate their inadequacy.
In these cases there are two ways out of the dead end in which the citizens in these countries find themselves: the search for a new leader who with miraculous recipes quickly resolves decades-old evils or caudillos who impose their dictatorship.
It’s the path that Venezuela took in ’99 by electing the ex-military Hugo Chávez or El Salvador, a dollarized country, bringing Nayib Bukele to power (2019).
Milei in recent days has said that he will repress with an iron fist anyone who opposes his decisions: it means that he already plans to proclaim himself caudillo to remain at the Casa Rosada for those 35-40 years that Argentina will need “to become great again “, to quote his words?
PIER LUIGI GIACOMONI
 Pablo Stefanoni, Argentine journalist and essayist, studied among other things of right-wing movements, is the author of a booklet entitled ¿La rebeldía se volvió derecha? How anti-progressivism and political anti-correction are building a new common sense (and why the izquierda must take them seriously).
Juan Luis González, on the other hand, wrote a biography of Javier Milei entitled “el loco”.