Saturday, December 2, 2023

ARGENTINA | 17-11-2023 00:35

Javier Milei: Outsider just one step away from power

Two candidates, one winner. A look at the two hopefuls competing for the Casa Rosada.

Complete name: Javier Gerardo Milei
Date of birth: 22/10/1970
Place of birth: City of Buenos Aires
Profession: Economist (Universidad de Belgrano graduate)
Political affiliation: Partido Libertario
Current public office: National deputy
Previous public offices held: None
Coalition/front:  La Libertad Avanza

Javier Milei, of La Libertad Avanza, is an economist and the candidate with the least experience in public life – he entered politics officially only in 2021 as a national deputy, on the back of 17 percent of the midterm voting in Buenos Aires City

His discourse is to question what he calls "the caste" or the local political establishment, insisting on drastic state spending cuts, including public employment. His proposals include dollarisation and closure of the Central Bank, as well as privatising public enterprise, tax cuts and labour reforms to reduce employer costs.

While his economic focus is libertarian (in practice because Milei insists on defining himself as an anarcho-capitalist in theory), his social proposals are conservative. For example, his party opposes legalised abortion and does not think that integral sex education should be obligatory in schools. He also proposes deregulating arms possession.

In his professional career, Milei, 53, worked with Máxima AFJP (Administradora de Fondos de Jubilaciones y Pensiones) private pension fund until such funds ceased to exist when the system returned to the state in 2008. He then started working as an economic consultant for Corporación America billionaire Eduardo Eurnekián, who has interests in the sectors of energy, airports, infrastructure and agro-industry.

Before entering Congress, Milei was already a public figure with his persistent appearances in television programmes with high ratings, where he expressed his criticisms of economic management and other public affairs in highly histrionic fashion, already becoming a media celebrity as early as 2018.

Not much is known about Milei’s love-life but his current partner is Fátima Flórez, the comedian, impersonator and performer. She has to co-exist with his sister Karina (a figure central to his election campaign and political journey) and his four dogs, cloned from his original mastiff Conan (who died six years ago) and named after Nobel Prize for Economics winners (Milton, Robert, Murray and Lucas.

Before beginning his economics studies at the University of Belgrano (followed by a postgraduate degree at Di Tella University), Milei’s first love was football where he was a reserve goalie for Chacarita Juniors despite being under 1.80 metres in height. Although an obsessive economist, it is such personal eccentricities which have brought him to the fore. Such eccentricities are described in full detail in the book by Juan Luis Gonzalez, El loco (Planeta, 2023)

His running-mate is fellow-deputy Victoria Villarruel, a highly controversial figure for human rights circles for her apparent denialism of state terrorism during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.


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