An unprecedented stage in the democratic journey begins in Argentina. A president arrives, the libertarian Javier Milei, surrounded almost exclusively by the enormous harvest of votes he obtained in the second round. With a weak party system and no territorial representation. A rarity whose flip side can be found in the state of emergency led by Eduardo Duhalde. The Buenos Aires native became president as a result of the great crisis of 2001 and the fall of Fernando de la Rua. With no votes, except for those of the Legislative Assembly, but with the support of two machines, Peronist and Radical, which allowed it to survive until the elections were held in 2003.
The political landscape has other traits. La Libertad Avanza, the ruling party, will have to coexist with fragmented coalitions. In particular, Together for Change. Peronism, with the exception of ultra-Kirchnerist sectors, has preferred to retreat into silence for now. If we start from the premise that every democracy is based on the solidity of its parties or alliances, we could diagnose a precariousness of the system.
Milei seems to be quickly becoming aware of this situation. A couple of pieces of evidence emerge. The peculiar and controversial format he decided to give to the inauguration ceremony in Congress. The way in which he has been building his government team, opening up the spectrum of the offer for its own shortcomings and conveniences. The decision to deliver his inaugural speech in front of the people who are going to gather in the Square of the Two Congresses aims to thicken his political flow of origin. A key platform for the inaugural times that will not be easy.
The audacious strategy was born of his own imagination and was compared with only three people: Karina, his sister, Guillermo Francos, the Minister of the Interior, and Santiago Caputo, the young digital man to whom he pays homage for the development of the electoral campaign. The same one who advised him to abandon journalistic interviews in the last two weeks. The decision was always confronted with a question: Won't this attitude go down badly with the legislators he will need to bring his initial reforms to life? A veteran leader, outside the libertarians, ended up convincing him: "No one is going to give you a vote for speaking in the chamber," he persuaded.
The inexperienced outsider who captured popular unrest and perplexed the political class has begun to take baths in realism before taking office. It will not resign, at least initially, the validity of the only proselytizing slogan that has not yet died: that the adjustment falls on "the caste," which it progressively begins to take into account in order to manage. The reformulation of the cabinet scheme, which goes from 19 ministries under Alberto Fernández to 9, could mean the initial dispensing of some 3,<> public positions. Symbolic currencies for the crisis. Valuable to the clientele that follows you.
With other appointments, even if they are of a lesser caliber, he would be seeking to defuse some strong fears that he generated in his campaign with overflows. Let's see: he decided to keep the current incumbent, Carlos Soratti, at Incucai. This is the body that deals with organ transplantation. The veteran doctor served in the same roles as Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. Epilogue to the organ sales market that he proposed in his ardent campaign days.
In the Ministry of Agriculture, which will be called Bioeconomy, he appointed Fernando Vilella, former dean of the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA, with a striking background. He is the co-author of the Environmental Sciences program. In many sectors of the countryside he is defined as an environmentalist. It is therefore difficult for other of Milei's sayings that caused scandal to survive: "A company can pollute the rivers as much as it wants. What's the problem?" he challenged during a talk in September.
It would also be necessary to look at the neighborhoods of the president-elect to understand the distance that is beginning to be delineated between the past and the millennial present. Carlos D'Alessandro is one of the elected libertarian deputies. Disciple of the liberal totem Alberto Benegas Lynch? Not at all. He is a new leader whose only previous political militancy was registered in Peronism in Buenos Aires. In La Matanza. That man, who has a good relationship with Milei, repeats that the possible annulment of the abortion law is not among the priorities. A flag that, in fact, was waved many times by the vice-president-elect, Victoria Villarruel. The lady has been removed from the circle of the president-elect's key decisions.
She's not the only laggard. Another striking fact is the absence from the foreground of the incoming government of Ramiro Marra, a Buenos Aires legislator and Milei's sidekick in the campaign. Rumors always placed him near an armchair. The libertarian from Buenos Aires began to be displaced as soon as the runoff ended. There are several explanations, although one is insisted on: the closeness that the legislator consolidated at the time with Eugenio Casielles, a member of the Federal Consensus monobloc.
That leader came to the Legislature in 2019 by the hand of the Peronist initiative that, among others, was represented by Roberto Lavagna and Juan Manuel Urtubey. During the year he toured some provinces trying to help in the libertarian arm. Without the consent, apparently, of the president-elect. In the course of the process, there would have been murky episodes. The reproach fell on Marra. Enough for Karina Milei to give him the thumbs down. "The Fusilier of Libertarian Militants," the mileist defector Carlos Maslatón nicknames the woman.
Last week another downpour fell on the soggy ground. Marra's financial consultancy, called Bull Market Brokers, distributed to its clients and journalists a report on "The Caputo Plan and the Day After." In the text, he suggested that a disbursement of $15 billion from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds would be guaranteed. It also mentions an alleged new contribution from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and aid from cereal companies for the baptism of management. It is worth remembering: the delivery of the last tranche of the great loan that Macrism took in its time was pending.
Milei and the economy minister have one main concern. Neither the details of the "Omnibus Law" that will be sent to Congress nor Caputo's initial maneuvers to address "the worst legacy in history" will be revealed until tomorrow. That report from Marra's company caused an outburst of anger on the upper floors of the Hotel Libertador. "Irresponsible," Karina and "Toto" Caputo shouted.
The president-elect rolls the heads of his own soldiers along the way (Carolina Píparo is another example) but he lets out a pragmatism that is difficult to have been discovered during the campaign. There would be a combination of reasons. The need for a cast that guarantees governability. The objective lack of figures in La Libertad Avanza to cover the basic pigeonholes demanded by the landing in the State.
Perhaps Alberto gave him an involuntary hand when, on one of the last days of his mandate, after four years, he confessed that he believed that the poverty of 40% of INDEC would be poorly measured. "If that were the case, Argentina would be in turmoil," he said. It's surprising that he doesn't notice its ruins. It showed in the sad farewell message. In the organization, Milei decided to keep Marco Lavagna. He believes that, even with imperfections, the organism works.
He did exactly the same thing with Flavia Royón's tenure in Mining. He was in Sergio Massa's team. It had a political additional that could be linked to governability. The request was made by the governor of Salta, Gustavo Sáenz, for whom that woman had been an official. That contemplation could open doors for him in provinces where Peronism does not govern but habitual allies: Neuquén, Misiones and Río Negro.
Another case, perhaps with fewer ramifications, would be that of the Minister of Health. Cardiologist Mario Russo, who served as a civil servant in San Miguel during the time of Mayor Joaquín de la Torre, will be there. This provincial senator, of Peronist origin, is close to Patricia Bullrich. His brother, Pablo, will be secretary of Social Development. The significant detail would be different: Russo comes from the Government Relations department of AySA, the state company run by Malena Galmarini.
All of these are just a few pieces of a gigantic puzzle that Milei will be forced to put together in order for his government to get off the ground. Congress seems, in this respect, to be a determining factor. The president-elect retained his position in the Chamber of Deputies (Martín Menem) and the line of succession in the Senate (Francisco Paoltroni), whose inauguration was postponed by Cristina. Previously, negotiations to weave a first network of contention with Macristas and federal Peronists failed. The rudder is useful, but it will require a lot of sagacity and even sorcery to form the majorities that will demand the first reforms that the libertarian leader intends.
There is not expected to be any honeymoon. Nor the much-touted 100 days of credit. Therein lies another challenge for Milei: how to retain his millions of voters who bet on him after so many frauds. No one knows if the recently defeated are willing to make a truce. For the time being, ATE will hold a national strike on Monday. Eduardo Belliboni's Polo Obrero (Workers' Pole) called for "the government to do badly so that it goes well for us." Cristina said as she bid farewell to the Senate that she will remain close and active. Nothing that sows peace of mind.