Argentine President-elect Javier Millay plans to radically change his country's foreign policy, focusing on relations with the United States – and with Israel. The libertarian candidate, who scored a landslide election victory over the ruling Peronist Party candidate, announced hours later that he planned to visit both countries before his inauguration next month.
Millay has vowed to distance himself from Russia and China, traditionally Buenos Aires' allies, and supports Ukraine fighting the Russian invasion. It is unclear what will happen to the outgoing administration's decision to join the BRICS bloc, which is seen as a kind of counterweight to US economic dominance.
He is an avid admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, earning him the nickname "Trump" of Argentina, and the latter was among the first to congratulate him on his victory. The two could work together if Trump returns to the White House in January 2025.
Argentine presidential candidate Javier Millay holds the Israeli flag during an election rally in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 16, 2023/Reuters
Along with the leather jacket and chainsaw with which Milley used to appear at pre-election political rallies, the former commentator also waved some of them with an Israeli flag. He expressed his support for Hamas' right to defend itself after the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, in which a significant number of Israelis with Argentine citizenship were murdered and kidnapped.
He even called on the administration to put Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations. The administration of outgoing President Alberto Fernández called for the release of the hostages, but also condemned Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip.
In an interview with The Times of Israel before the decisive round of the presidential election, Millay, a former economics professor, reiterated his promise to move his country's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem despite the expected international outrage.
"I don't care if world leaders criticize me. I truly believe it's the right thing to do," said Millay, 53, who said he "admires the culture and people of Israel" because of what he described as a "combination of the spiritual world and the real world."
Argentine presidential candidate Javier Millay holds a chainsaw at an election rally in Buenos Aires, September 25, 2023/Reuters
Millay, whom his opponents describe as a danger to democracy because of his sympathy for the right-wing military dictatorship that led Argentina in the 70s and 80s, even became connected to Judaism through a student of his who trained to be a rabbi. He even said in an interview with The Times of Israel that he may convert after the end of his political career.
Millay, who comes from a family of Italian descent, is planning radical changes to his country's broken economy, such as dismantling the central bank and replacing the peso with the dollar, in addition to closing government ministries such as education, welfare, health and the environment. He opposes abortion, denies the climate crisis and supports legalizing organ trafficking.
As a teenager, he was a goalkeeper for Chacarita, but said he gave up his football career to study economics following the 1989 Depression.
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