Ads Top

Javier Milei: Argentina’s Libertarian Firebrand Tipped To Break Peronist Hegemony


A former member of a Rolling Stones tribute band and self-described “anarcho-capitalist” is hoping to shatter Argentina’s two-party duopoly this October as Buenos Aires prepares for a presidential race that could feature a form of distinctly South American anti-state populism.


Javier Milei, a 52-year-old TV economist turned populist politician is polling a strong third at 20% in the lead-up to the October 22nd elections where Argentinians will simultaneously decide on a new president, vice president, and members of Congress and Senate. 


Voters are souring on the country’s ruling left-wing Peronist government with Milei and his populist ‘La Libertad Avanza’ party benefiting from a strong anti-establishment message as Argentina grapples with a crippling inflation rate of 115% and the prospect of yet another embarrassing IMF bailout.


Milei broke all expectations over the weekend as his party polled first in strategically important primaries ahead of both the governing ‘Union por la Patria’ and the conservative opposition ‘Juntos por el Cambio.’ 


The defining issue of the presidential race is what to do with the rapidly devaluing Argentinian peso. Milei is a proponent of what he calls his “chainsaw plan” to radically reduce public spending and dismantle the Argentinian Central Bank due to his ideological commitment to the Austrian School of Economics which postulates against state intervention.


A resource-rich Latin American country, Argentina has stumbled from crisis to crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1983. After defaulting on its IMF loans in 2014, the country is trying to cope with spiralling rates of poverty and youth unemployment. 


Ideologically, politics in Argentina has been defined by the economic legacy of former President Juan Perón and his economically corporatist philosophy of Peronism, interrupted by military juntas and bouts of pro-market governments that favoured privatisation.


Milei now aims to upset that political order as he carries a radically anti-state message into the mainstream of Argentinian politics and garners support from disgruntled young voters and the centre-right in a nation where voting is mandatory.


Campaigning on a dual message of ending inflation and “que se vayan todos” (let them all go—a reference to what he calls Argentina’s ruling political caste), Milei advocates the dollarisation of the Argentinian economy to avoid economic collapse, as well as a strong social conservative agenda, and disavowal of man man-climate change.



Speaking to El Pais, Milei said his closest ideological comparison was the recently deposed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the Spanish party VOX due to their hostility to socialist economic policies. He is a vocal social conservative on abortion and sex education, but has downplayed overt nationalism as part of his campaign.


In the interview, Milei pondered the possibility of mimicking El Salvador’s world-famous zero-tolerance approach to narco-politics. The presidential candidate has also been involved in controversies, among other things when he defended the sale of organs and babies as a result of his ultra-libertarian stance.


Despite his libertarian views, he has spoken out against some individual rights, like abortion. Milei has also raised eyebrows for his belief in the paranormal, including communicating with his dead dog which he had attempted to clone.


Milei faces a divided centre-right opposition and demoralised Peronis government as his conservative rivals ‘Juntos por el Cambio’ opted for a more right-wing presidential candidate, former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, during the weekend primaries.


Formal campaigning for the presidency will begin in early September. With economic turmoil and poor establishment resolve, perhaps that is enough to see Milei—and his plans for economic shock therapy on the Argentinian economy—cross the finish line.




Source: European Conservative

Powered by Blogger.