Buenos Aires and other parts of the country did not sleep on the night from Sunday to Monday. Following the results of the second round of elections held on November 19, Javier Miley, the “economist with a chainsaw,” became the new head of Argentina. He won by a larger margin than expected. Having shown a rather modest result during the first round, on the decisive day Miley received almost 56% of the votes, which indicated a confident victory for the former TV star.
“The pattern of decline has come to an end, there is no going back,” Javier Miley said in his victory speech. “Colossal problems lie ahead: inflation, lack of work and poverty. The situation is critical, and there is no place for lukewarm half-measures... Argentina's recovery begins today. Today is a historic night for Argentina. The country will return to the place in the world that it should never have lost.”
The last phrase, in the perception of many observers, especially “relates” Miley to former US President Donald Trump, with whom the South American politician is often compared. By the way, his followers do not deny such analogies too much. One of the main attributes of his supporters is hats with the inscription “Make Argentina Great Again.”
Rock star with cloned mastiffs
Argentina's new president is often called a "madman" and a "wig" due to the ferocity of his public statements and the unruly mop of hair on his head. 53-year-old Miley himself calls himself a “lion.”
The son of a businessman and a housewife does not like to talk about his childhood, calling it “stressful.” Javier was a member of a musical group that performed mainly covers of Rolling Stones songs, and was the goalkeeper of the Chacarita football club. However, during the hyperinflation of the late 1980s, he decided to leave football and study economics.
Among his relatives, he maintains good relations only with his sister Karina. She, by the way, led his election campaign. Miley calls her "the boss" and has repeatedly characterized her as the architect of his rise to power.
During his television appearances, Miley talked not only about economics and politics. He delved into intimate details of his personal life, once presenting himself as an expert in tantric sex. The new president of Argentina has no wife, nor, indeed, any friends. Only in July did the local press begin to mention his affair with actress and artist Fatima Flores.
But something else is stranger. Miley had a deep bond with his English mastiff, Conan. The dog died, which hit Javier Miley hard. He paid about 50 thousand dollars to clone his “original” pet, thus obtaining as many as four copies of Conan. He calls his mastiffs “four-legged children.”
Politician with a chainsaw
A frequent guest on television shows, Miley seemed to analysts to be an outsider in the presidential race. Too radical and exotic. In his election speeches, he promised to “burn” the country’s Central Bank, dollarize the economy, the national currency (peso) and even called it “excrement.” His attribute became a chainsaw as a symbol of reducing government spending and the size of government.
In his first speech after his victory, Miley promised to carry out speedy reforms to correct the economy, mired in crisis. Inflation in Argentina now stands at 143%, foreign exchange reserves are in the red, and a recession is looming.
But Miley managed to shake up the political establishment of Argentina. The libertarianism of Miley, who called himself an “anarcho-capitalist,” was new to this Latin American country.
Javier Miley considers himself not only a right-wing politician, but also a cultural fighter whose mission is to shake up Argentine society. There is a wide field for thought here, given that his speeches are often accompanied by profanity.
Miley opposes feminist policies and abortion, which Argentina has legalized in recent years, and has proposed a plebiscite to repeal the law.
He also rejects the notion that humans play a role in climate change. In his television appearance, he even condemned Pope Francis (who is of Argentinean origin) for his advocacy of social justice, calling the religious leader an “imbecile.” He also called the head of the Roman Catholic Church “the representative of evil on Earth.”
Argentina's Uncharted Future
Miley promoted the concept of significantly smaller government to stimulate economic growth. This would entail the elimination of half of government ministries, including health and education. Reducing the size of the state is consistent with his calls for the removal of the "political caste" from the Argentine government.
No one excludes that a review of foreign policy ties will follow, given his course towards rapprochement with the United States. In one of his interviews, he even spoke out against cooperation with China and Russia, and he “sees no point” in joining BRICS.
A number of analysts believe that if there is no radical revision of relations between Moscow and Buenos Aires, then a period of “political differences” on a number of issues cannot be ruled out.
Journalist and author of the biography of the new Argentine president "El Loco" ("The Crazy Man") Juan Gonzalez called Miley's victory a "risky gamble": "He is an unstable leader of an unstable country."
Journalist and political scientist Carlos Pagni emphasizes that Miley’s triumph is “the success of a candidate without structure. He did not explain to voters that he knew how bad they were. He chose to shout, insult, gesticulate like a man like them. I sensed the public’s dissatisfaction in order to redirect it towards the leadership.”
According to analyst Joaquín Morales Sola, “Argentine society has decided to leave a known territory, certainly devastated, to enter a new political time full of innovation.”
The head of the Argentine project of the Wilson Center, Benjamin Gedan, assessed Miley’s victory as follows: “This vote simply reeks of desperation. Many Argentines have deliberately voted against their economic interests... The real risk is that Argentina will fail in its attempt to radically transform the economy. This will include widespread social unrest, national trade union strikes, potential political violence and pressure on democratic institutions. There's a pretty bleak scenario if he actually aggressively pursues his maximalist vision for Argentina."
But Miley's supporters are still euphoric. "The mile is new and it's a little scary, but it's time to turn the page," said voter Christian, 31.
“Honestly, I'm delighted. Miley represents change for the better. With Massa we would not have had a future, our future is back,” admitted 21-year-old student from the province of Salta, Efrain Viveros, with enthusiasm.
World leaders welcome Miley in different ways
There is no clear opinion among world leaders about the new president of Argentina. As expected, Donald Trump reacted joyfully to the election results: “Congratulations to Javier Miley on a great race for the presidency of Argentina. The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you. You will turn your country around and truly make Argentina great again!
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro: “Congratulations to the Argentine people on the victory of Javier Miley. Hope will shine again in South America. May this good wind reach the United States and Brazil so that honesty, progress and freedom can return to us all."
The current President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, reacted with restraint: “Democracy is the voice of the people, and it should always be respected. My congratulations to the Argentine institutions that conducted the electoral process and to the Argentine people who participated in election day in an orderly and peaceful manner. I wish the new government good luck."
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan: “I congratulate Javier Milay on his election as President of Argentina and I congratulate the people of Argentina for holding free and fair elections. We look forward to further developing our strong bilateral relationship, based on our shared commitment to human rights, democratic values and transparency."
Hungarian President Katalin Nowak also conveyed congratulations: “Congratulations on the great victory. I wish you strength and perseverance to work for the good of Argentina and for freedom.” Spain and Italy (mainly representatives of right-wing parties) joined in the admiration.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky also did not stand aside: “We congratulate Javier Miley on his convincing victory in the presidential elections in Argentina. I appreciate his clear position in support of Ukraine. I look forward to working together to strengthen our partnership.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen congratulated Javier Miley and invited Argentina's new far-right libertarian president to visit Israel.