Javier Millais takes office in Argentina surrounded by doubts about his government and the need for alliances




Javier Miley

Javier Miley

Photo: REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

SPECIAL DISPATCH TO BUENOS AIRES – App driver Ernesto Damian, 29, voted for Javier Miley in both rounds of the presidential election because he wants a change of direction for Argentina. However, now that his candidate has become president, he worries about what the libertarian will actually be able to do. He is not alone: ​​the financial market, industry, agribusiness, economists, political scientists and even International Monetary Fund (IMF) They doubt how Miley, who runs Casa Rosada, will behave.

“I don’t agree with everything he says, but no one will ever agree with anyone 100%. But we have to give him a chance to try something else, let’s see if he can do it,” said the driver. He says he’s tired of seeing his parents struggle for 29 years to make ends meet.

Although in the elections his victory was convincing with a difference of 11 points Sergio Massa as of November 19, his support base is minuscule. In Congress, your party, Freedom of Avanzahas only 38 seats, requiring the libertarians to build alliances with more than just right-wing parties such as Republican Proposal (PRO) with Maurizio Macri and Radical-Civil Union (UCR)but also with Peronistsespecially the Kurdish anti-Kirschnerists Juan Sciaretti.

“The first indications given by Millais were that not all of A Liberdade Avança (LLA) won with the changes and composition of the cabinets, and that not all of Peronism and PRO lost in this composition,” analyzes a political scientist from the University of Buenos Aires. Ayres (UBA), Facunda Galvan.

In his office, to be sworn in this Sunday, the 10th, shortly after receiving the mandate from his hands Alberto FernandezMiley had to give up important names in his party, such as Ramiro Marra d Karolina Piparadeploy ABM and its allies as Patricia Bulrich in the Ministry of Security d Luis Caputa no Ministry of Economy. It is in the name of governance that the libertarian has had to abandon his most cherished plans, such as dollarization, but the future is still uncertain and it could take weeks to find out what type of government Millais will create.

So far, the names confirmed by Miley in her official message on social network X (formerly Twitter): Luis “Toto” Caputa on economics, Nicolas Posse as Patricia Bulrich’s Chief of Staff in the Security Division, Louis Petrie (Patricia’s deputy) in defense, Guillermo Francos not interior Guillermo Ferraro in the field of infrastructure, Diana Mondino in foreign affairs, Mariana Cuneo Libarona in fairness Sandra Petavella in the field of human capital (which will focus on education, work and social development) and Mario Russo in the health care portfolio (a ministry that Millais promised to eliminate).

There were also the designations of the presidents of the Chamber and the Senate, as well as extremely relevant bodies such as Anses, YPF and Banco Central, positions that were distributed between libertarians, Macrists and Peronists. However, even in these definitions, the winners and seams of the alliance were not unambiguous, analysts warn.

Control as a mystery

For UBA economist Fabio Rodríguez, Miley’s two big unknowns are: your economic plan and its management agreements. “His political muscle is small, because he has about 10% of the Senate and less than 15% of the Chamber of Deputies, and the alliances in how the parties will support him are still unclear, how they will support the laws that he proposes, because there is a large fragmentation in Congress, and we don’t know the political ability its representatives will have to weave governing agreements. So, it’s a big question mark today,” he says.

IMF chief Julie Kozak made it clear three days before the inauguration that Miley needed political support if she wanted to continue negotiating her debt. “A strong, credible and politically supported stabilization plan is needed to permanently address Argentina’s macroeconomic imbalances and structural problems while protecting the most vulnerable,” he said, noting that this would require a “strong and credible Central Bank,” going against . Miley’s old suggestion to “blow up” the bank.

Millais and his libertarian movement are a novelty in a country historically marked by the polarization of Peronism versus anti-Peronism. Both movements have deep political power, not only in the legislature, but also in state and federal government. Very different from Miley, who won practically alone. In this loneliness are hidden the greatest fears of what news the new president will bring. The fear, analysts say, is that his government is so fragile that it won’t last four years.

“The LLA has a wide menu to ensure controllability, but it hasn’t chosen one yet,” observes Facunda Cruz, political and public data analyst at UBA’s Pulsar Observatory. “It gives me the feeling that the party is waiting to see how your government starts and how much it will need that governance and that is a mistake in politics in general because if you need governance you don’t build it quickly and you have to build it then , if it is really needed, it leaves much more expensive.”

“It seems to me that the government is counting on its political legitimacy from the 55% of votes it received in the second round, that is, to transform this electoral legitimacy into political legitimacy and transform it into capital in order to start making decisions,” he adds.

The problem with this calculation is that you have to give in to electoral promises to govern. Here’s what Miley had to do, reducing his aggressive rhetoric, including against Brazil and Lula, and returning to his most radical economic plans. In this game, the legitimacy of elections is at stake.

Mauricio Macri as guarantor of governance?

The political support of former president Mauricio Macri was a big engine for the victory of Javier Milea and for putting together his first government steps. The rapprochement was so great that there were those who doubted who would actually be president: Millais or Macri. In response, Miley sought to make it clear that he would be officiating the game, which could cause strain in the relationship. The question now is how much of this political capital that Macri has brought will be transformed into political support.

“I would say that Macri had a much greater influence on the victory than on the government’s decisions now,” says Fabio Rodríguez. “With the exception of Patricia, he did not hold such relevant ministries. He even lost the race for the presidency of the House, where his favorite name was the name Christian Ritondo. By that time, Millay had more sense and distributed the game a bit between other forces, also including non-Kirchner Peronism and other actors. So what Millais did after his victory was to try to reduce the weight that Macri wanted to have in state and political decisions.”

“PRO was limited by the Ministry of Security, with Patricia Bulrich even having to step down as PRO president to take over, but Macri believed he would have more names in the cabinets,” agrees Galván. “Of course, Macri will have a very strong intervention because he is a good friend of Luis Caputo, but it will not be a PRO government. It will be the government of Millais with his closest entourage: Guillermo Franco and Karina Millais.”

In the end, candidate Macri did not win the position of Speaker of the House, which was given to a libertarian Martin Menemand also failed to win other key bodies such as Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI)collection agency Afip and the state oil company YPF.

“It is still not clear to me that Macri will be the guarantor of the governability of this government,” says Facunda Cruz, adding that the political space tends to be much more personalistic, focused on the figure of Miley. For a political scientist, the only signs of certainty given by the libertarian were a tougher line on security, singling out Bulrich and Petri, and Argentina’s international realignment towards the more conservative right, his inauguration was heavily attended by Jair Bolsonaro and Viktor Orbán. “Everything else is uncertainty,” he concludes.

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