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Two Challenges for Javier Milei: The Bukele Effect and the PRO Rift


Highlights: Two Challenges for Javier Milei: The Bukele Effect and the PRO Rift. How he intends to navigate the shortage of lawmakers to pass laws. One of the political challenges of the new government will be not to be affected by the internal struggle in the PRO. In the end, the elected government decided to make a government out of its own," says Mauricio Macri, president-elect of Argentina. "They bring me the different proposals and I decide," Milei explained a few days ago.

How he intends to navigate the shortage of lawmakers to pass laws. Now, Macrism is taking off from the libertarian government.

"Do you know how many members of the Legislative Branch Bukele took office? Zero. So, when you know what needs to be done, how to do it, and you have the conviction, it's done." That is one of the arguments that Javier Milei has used in the campaign to argue that despite having only 38 deputies and 7 senators, he will be able to manage anyway. He uses as an example the arrival to the presidency of El Salvador of Nayib Bukele, a leader with an autocratic profile who broke with the bipartisan hegemony in that country after 30 years and who today is heading for re-election, despite the fact that the Constitution did not allow it.

To be sure, Bukele's way of managing is not what Milei aspires to. Indeed, when he took office on June 1, 2019, the Salvadoran parliament was widely in opposition. The new president began a harsh offensive against the traditional leadership and even threatened to dissolve the Legislative Assembly after storming the headquarters of the Chamber of Deputies with the military and police with the idea of expelling those who resisted approving an international loan destined for his plan against insecurity. Bukele had to wait two years until the midterm elections, to have his own majority in Congress and carry out the reforms he sought.

Milei is convinced that the adjustment is a mandate given to him by the electorate through the vote, so Congress should approve it without problems. He often repeats that this is the first time in history that an economist has become president of Argentina and that, in addition, he is doing so by promoting the cut in campaign spending. Both points are true. The question is how long his electorate will give him to deliver on some of his promises.

In mileism, they believe that the majority of the votes of Together for Change will accompany him in the first stage. And that there are Peronists who today make up the blocs of deputies and the Senate of the Union for the Homeland who do not respond vertically to Cristina Kirchner. With it out of the institutional scheme, without Peronist leaders to appear and without a box to enlist the rebels, it will depend on the ability of Guillermo Francos – future Minister of the Interior – and company to break with those blocs and get votes from deputies and senators, through their governors.

Obviously, everything negotiable goes against the adjustment, and no one knows if the diagnosis that Milei will give next Sunday contemplates a margin for "negotiations" with the governors.

Nayib Bukele. President of El Salvador. Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Orellana

The provinces' dependence on national funds is such that in the first ten months of the year alone, the provinces received $1200.517 billion. To cite a few examples, according to the consulting firm Aerarium, up to October the province of Buenos Aires received $53 billion in discretionary funds, La Rioja $51 billion, Chaco $50 billion, Santa Fe $36 billion, Córdoba $37 billion, Tucumán $35 billion; Misiones $34 billion, Santiago del Estero $33 billion and Salta $<> billion.

More Menemism, less Macrism

Francos, who was a candidate for legislator in the 90s, Rodolfo Barra, who was a candidate for the Treasury Department, and Martin Menem for the Chamber of Deputies, are rehearsing a bath of Menemism that Milei is taking. Like Carlos Menem, but without his political experience or charisma, Milei proposes a radial scheme for the exercise of power, decentralizing the management of areas other than economic policy. "They bring me the different proposals and I decide," the president-elect explained a few days ago.

One of the political challenges of the new government will be not to be affected by the internal struggle in the PRO.

"In the end, the elected government decided to make a government out of its own," says a Macrist with a black palate. In the circle of leaders close to Mauricio Macri, they maintain that the Milei administration will know "what it is to sail the storm blindly only as of December 10," they warn.

Despite not being able to finalize the presidency of Christian Ritondo in the Chamber of Deputies, Macrism considers that Congress will approve the legislative package that Milei will send, among other points, with the adjustment. One reason, they say, is that the governors need funds and they are not going to face the electorate that elected them, but also elected Milei to the presidency, in some cases, by 60 or 70 percent of the vote.

Rodolfo Carlos Barra. He joins Milei's government as Treasury Attorney.Photo: Enrique García Medina

Among the opponents of Together for Change, they agree with an accompaniment at the beginning. "Our fight continues to be with Kirchnerism, the people voted for him and we can't put sticks in the wheel, unless he comes with something very far-fetched," says a radical legislator.

The failed partners – the Macrists – of the government that will begin on December 10 foresee three problems. They believe that the new administration does not measure what the fiscal adjustment means, nor the infinity of the State and the sticks in the wheel that can be threaded from there, and finally, it does not have arms, that is, officials with expertise to occupy the hundreds of positions no matter how much the ministries are reduced.

The crack in the PRO

The arrival of Patricia Bullrich to the Ministry of Security of Milei formalized the break with Macri, but also with the PRO. The former Together for Change candidate won't have much time for policymaking or rest. On December 19 and 20, the social organizations plan to challenge the new government with a massive march in homage to the demonstrators killed on those dates in 2001, during the government of Fernando de la Rua, which led to his resignation preceded by a deep economic crisis. Can he avoid it?

Unlike in 2015 when he held the same portfolio, this time in the province of Buenos Aires María Eugenia Vidal will not govern, but the ultra-Kirchnerist Axel Kicillof, who intends that his Minister of Security during the first term, Sergio Berni, remain in office despite the fact that his administration reflects a Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area that lives as a liberated zone for crimes of all kinds. How do you fight pickets without the collaboration of the provincial government? Unless Berni or whoever occupies the Buenos Aires Security area makes a turn, it will be difficult.

At least it will have a like-minded Buenos Aires government, such as that of Jorge Macri, who announced during the campaign that he would present a bill to penalize demonstrators who protest with children.

Patricia Bullrich. Quarrels with Macri and future Minister of Security. Photo: Maxi Failla

A few days ago, it was Milei who set the tone for the picket demonstrations, assuring that pickets that violate the law – free movement? – "will end up in prison." Can that logic be fulfilled?

"You have to see Patricia managing without the criteria of Marcos Peña and the restraint of Mauricio. It's not going to be the same. But the challenge is hers, it's not ours," they say in Macrismo, distancing themselves from Bullrich, but also from any episode that may involve the PRO.

See also

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Milei prepares a devaluation and freed prices; Bullrich Makes Ranch Apart

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-12-03

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