Economist Javier Meli is running for councillor and was the third most-voted candidate in Buenos Aires, the stronghold of Vice President Cristina Kirchner
Natural messy hair added to formal clothes and phrases reproduced on social networks are some of the characteristics that lend a populist vibe and make the economist figure Javier Meli hit in Argentina. At the age of 50 and without any tradition in the country’s politics, he appeared in the primaries, which had already gained social media controversy and radical views against the traditional candidates, and won third place in opinion polls for the deputy in Buenos Aires, the stronghold of current Vice President Cristina Kirchner, which got On more than 13% of the vote, it appears as a “third choice” for those who want to escape the usual bipartisan partnership. On Instagram, with nearly 900,000 followers, Milei reproduces the complaints and criticisms of competitors, ramping up his own economic cycle and reproducing the famous phrase “Live for freedom, *** man”. He conquered not only a crowd of old conservatives but also young people who had just won the right to vote in the country, alerting the arrival of a wave of the far-right in another Latin American country.
Although Javier Meli does not consider himself an extreme right-wing, claiming to be merely a liberal, experts have heard pan youth It suggests that the candidate presents classic positions of extreme conservatism. According to Paulo Velasco, Associate Professor of International Politics at Rio de Janeiro State University, at least three features of the far right can be observed in the world of economics: an anti-political stance, with rhetoric classifying most candidates as corrupt and free runners in pursuit of their own interests; the conservative agenda associated with good morals and customs, against progressive agendas such as abortion; The defense of the macroeconomic adjustment to reform is still not clear to the population. He talks about fixing, but nobody really knows what magic he’s going to work on in terms of fixing. He says he won’t put [as mudanças] In the account of society, which is unrealistic, because the rope always ends with a fracture on the part of the citizen ”, assesses the professor.
Professor Regian Nich Brissan, of the São Paulo School of Politics, Economics and Business at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), also cites hallmarks of Milley’s rhetoric in defense of freedom and the right to private property, and sermons that are points of commonality between the candidate and other politicians framed in the region The far right, like Jair Bolsonaro NS Donald Trump. The desire to dissolve the Central Bank, reduce the number of parliamentarians in the country and reduce the salaries of bureaucrats and members of the political class are also other distinguishing features of the candidate, as well as the desire to sever ties with countries that many consider dictatorships .. from the left in Latin America. “He wants to completely break the support for some countries in the region, such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, chiefly Venezuela, whose support Argentina has maintained while Colombia, Chile and Brazil have already come a long way,” he says. Professor UERJ recalls, however, that the characteristics of Milei are not common to Argentine democracy, but, on the other hand, are not new in the world. “It reflects a lot of what we’ve seen in Europe, the United States and Brazil as being more of a right. It’s not the traditional Argentine right, like the Radical Civic Union or even as part of Peronism. It also doesn’t reflect the Macrismo right, or the right of the 1990s, under President Menem. It’s something On the right is much more than that,” he explains.
The vote to reject the government may explain the candidate’s growth
The right-wing candidate’s lead in the primaries is not an isolated case in Argentina. Of the country’s 24 provinces, only six representatives of the party of the incumbent left-wing president, Alberto Fernandez, were leaders in the polls. The “Together for Change” group, led by former President Mauricio Macri, received 41.50% of the vote, indicating the weakening of the current presidency. “This shows dissatisfaction with the economy, which in recent years has not been able to respond, even with Macri’s changes and the current political changes, as the same conservative wave, which came from Europe, has passed through the United Kingdom and the United States. The countries and now seem to be located here in Latin America,” Professor Regian analyzes. In the particular case of the libertarian party candidate, you see his support as not only progress from the right, but also a rejection of traditional politics. It has been gaining more and more popular support, and this popular support is defined by both the right and the far right, but also as a protest vote. So, those who are very dissatisfied with Macri’s policy, with all these years of Kirchnerism, find in him an increasingly popular figure to show their protest,” he points out. Velasco also fails to see in the primaries’ percentage of the population quite consistent with the radical ideas of the economist .
“I think the preliminary results are not a definitive thermometer yet. I understand they are a strong indicator for the legislative elections in November, but they are not conclusive. I see that there has been a lot of punishment vote, protest vote. In other words, there is disappointment with the economic chaos in Argentina that has continued For several years. Whoever pushes the duck ends up being the one sitting in power, so the next wave is Fernandez. However, in the 13% of those who voted liberal I don’t see a real identity with Millie’s agenda, this more extreme agenda,” he says. . Even with an imminent victory at the polls, the economist may not be able to advance all the agendas he wants for the country for the government, because he will be only one in a sea of 257 deputies. “He definitely wouldn’t be able to do all of this. He doesn’t even have the strength to be a part of what he wants, but [se for eleito] It can gain more insight, gain more and more support,” the professor from Unifesp analyzes.
The UERJ professor recalls that the optimistic projection of the libertarian party, Millie’s legend, is that four candidates will be elected in 2021. “He alone would have far less power than being able to count on a group of four libertarians in the end. From [dessa definição] It will try to show the service. In practice, Parliament will eventually be able to make some proposals and support projects that attempt to limit MPs’ access to public resources. He may try to push ahead with a project that would wipe out Argentina’s central bank, as it is highly critical of spending, but it is unlikely to have a very large rally in front of the coalitions, Juntos Por El Cambio and Frente de Todos. It would be a smaller bench, without much impact on the ground,” he analyzes.
Presidential Opportunities in 2023
The candidate’s apparent presence on social media generates a series of hashtags that mark him as victorious in 2021 and also in 2023, when the country will have to decide whether Alberto Fernandez will remain in office or whether a new president will take office in Argentina. . Experts’ views differ when assessing the candidate’s role in the country’s upcoming national elections. Velasco points out that there are a series of conditions to be met and says that it is still too early to answer whether Millie’s lead in the primaries is just a “light fire” or a real trend toward the country’s growing conservatism. He also notes that “the worst of all worlds” for a candidate is not winning a vice election and staying out of focus until 2023. “If you look at recent elections in Latin America, in Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, then a candidate from the right always appeared The extremist is trying to surf this wave that has become so special in the world recently. Now, it’s Argentina’s turn,” he points out. Bressan, in turn, believes in the possibility of a more escalating right, mainly due to the population’s dissatisfaction with the handling of the country’s crises. “I think it is still too early to say that he will run and win the elections close to 2023, but it is not surprising that he will run for office or even be elected in 2027,” he analyzes. The primaries served to determine the candidates who will appear on the ballot papers on November 14, when voters head to the polls again to renew a third of the Senate and half of the Argentine chamber.
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