The political shock that Javier Milei’s triumph has brought about raises questions in the region, given the disruptive nature of many of his campaign statements and the great unknown of how he will really govern. Observers describe it as unpredictable. Aside from the usual congratulations that Latin American presidents have sent to the winner of the Argentine elections, the first signs in the international arena give food for thought.
According to the EFE agency, the former Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, will attend Milei’s inauguration on December 10, after having received an invitation. On the other hand, there are rumors that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will not do it. A bad diplomatic preamble for relations between the two large South American countries and axes of Mercosur.
But, according to political scientist César Augusto Chamorro, a graduate of Potsdam, Germany, reality will probably prevail. “Milei realizes that everything she said in the campaign is not so feasible in reality. Because Argentina needs Brazil, it needs the region, it cannot be closed,” he says. In this context, he predicts that Lula is going to try a rapprochement. “And Milei will be forced to accept it, because the Argentine industry itself cannot pursue that type of policy. Because it is almost impossible, it is self-destruction. The Argentine banks themselves, the families that own the Argentine banks, cannot follow the policy that he plans. Because it is also self-destruction,” he considers.
A strategy that could be imitated
However, the result of the Argentine runoff has profound repercussions in the region. “We are seeing the emergence of other types of far-right leadership throughout Latin America,” Cristóbal Rovira, professor of Political Science at the Catholic University of Santiago de Chile, tells DW. “Those who are trying to profess ideas similar to those of Milei in Chile, in Peru or in other Latin American countries, observe what happens there and see that it is a type of strategy that should eventually be imitated,” he explains.
The Chilean academic also notes that part of the success does not correspond only to Milei, but also to the conventional right, referring to the PRO party, of former Argentine president Mauricio Macri, which finally supported the right-wing populist. “I think it is another wake-up call for what could happen in other Latin American countries, where the conventional right is very quickly willing to establish an alliance, sometimes tacit and other times more explicit, with this extreme right, to access power. “.
Against the conventional right
In Rovira’s opinion, Milei is one more case within the framework of a wave that is just beginning to emerge in Latin America. “What worries me a lot is that we cannot understand the rise of these far-rights without their ability to end up engulfing the conventional right, which is what ended up happening in the case of Brazil, is what is happening in the case of Argentina, and this is what to a certain extent we are also observing in the Chilean case, where there is a very fluid dialogue between the conventional right and the extreme right; and who ends up winning in that dialogue is simply the extreme right,” he analyzes.
This is what he predicts will happen in the Argentine case. “Regardless of what happens tomorrow with Javier Milei, my bet would be that Macri’s party is going to disappear, not necessarily as an organization, but in terms of its political ideology it will end up being the version Light of that extreme right.”
Chamorro has a different interpretation: “Behind Milei is former President Macri. Macri is the winner of the election. He still retains his power,” he says.
Both analysts agree that we will have to wait to see how Milei will actually govern. While Chamorro foresees that his project to liberalize trade will lead him to open up to pacts with other countries on this level, Rovira highlights the “isolationist” nature of this type of leadership, which tries to apply its policies without greater dialogue or coordination with its neighbors. .
Referring to his country, the Chilean political scientist states that “projects that could eventually require coordination between both countries, climate change issues, energy issues, migration issues, are going to be very difficult to carry out. Partly because we have a Left-wing government, which is the opposite of what Milei is; but, regardless of who is in La Moneda, these types of leadership have no interest in multilateral relations. Good customs are going to be maintained, but trying to advance in a Greater integration is going to be extremely difficult.”
Beyond the immediate effects, the professor from the Catholic University of Santiago emphasizes his concern, “not because democracy is going to succumb overnight, but because the path is being paved for a process of democratic erosion in slow motion, as we have seen in other countries around the world,” he explains: “When those conventional right-wing parties disappear or end up joining the extreme right, those who suffer are the democratic systems.”