National lawmaker Javier Milei has lashed out at Argentina’s main opposition coalition, declaring that he would “never” join a political grouping that has been “responsible for failure.”
Reacting to the news that Juntos por el Cambio would not look to recruit the outspoken economist into the fold ahead of next year’s general elections, Milei argued that he had no interest in joining the main opposition coalition.
"We want to break with the ideas that have destroyed our country in the last 100 years. We could never go in a space that has been jointly responsible for failure,” he said in a post on Twitter.
“Today CFK, La Cámpora and Alberto govern because of the failure of the model of the lukewarm doves of Juntos por el Cambio,” he added, giving Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the La Cámpora political organisation and President Alberto Fernández a poke for good measure.
Referring to his own Avanza Libertad grouping, Milei said that his party is "a new force that has arrived to transform Argentina – we want to break with the ideas that have destroyed our country."
Seeking to underline the points of agreement between the country’s main political forces, Milei accused the opposition of “locking up” citizens with the government during the coronavirus pandemic.
“They voted together in Congress. Our vote is transversal and its basis is the failure of the caste model,” said the lawmaker, deploying the language he uses to describe politicians.
The comments came after Juntos por el Cambio closed the door on the chances of Milei joining in a meeting of the coalition’s key leaders. During talks, those gathered agreed on "rules and articles of coexistence,” specifically that new forces should not be invited to join the coalition without the approval of all partners.
The decision removes the possibility that Milei could be asked to join the main opposition front, given that the only support for that proposal comes from the hardliners of the PRO party founded by ex-president Mauricio Macri.
Some leaders, such as Jujuy Province Governor Gerardo Morales, have been vocal in their opposition to the liberal economist.
"Milei is not part of Juntos por el Cambio and what he seeks is to divide this space, and in this he is playing into the hands of Kirchnerism," Morales told the press after the meeting.
“Juntos por el Cambio is the only republican, liberal and non-anarchic alternative" to defeat the government in next year's elections, he added.
Minutes after he spoke, the opposition coalition issued a longer statement explicitly naming Milei and explaining the decision.
"There are actors in political life who seek the break-up of Juntos por el Cambio, among them Javier Milei, who is not part of JxC and is trying to break our unity by being functional to the ruling party,” it read. “We are change without anarchy. We were and are, for more than a decade, the limit on Kirchnerism that Argentina needs and the alternative for profound change.”
Not everyone was happy with the stance. Reflecting the differences in the opposition coalition, PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich said that the naming of Milei in the communiqué had been “a total mistake.”
"We define ourselves by ourselves and not by the other actors," the former security minister said in a clear statement to fellow leaders. "We have to be more conscious and think more about construction before closing the doors.”
The PRO leader, who described the decision as “hasty,” then said she had arrived late to the meeting and that the decision had already been taken.
"Decisions have to be more open and more democratic, not impulsive. I, the president of PRO, was not at the meeting and a decision of this magnitude was taken when PRO had not discussed its position," Bullrich said.
The former minister had already assured in a radio interview that the Avanza Libertad lawmaker had “never even asked to join Juntos por el Cambio."
Similarly, the opposition leader explained: "I think that at this moment we have to consider our positions regarding Argentine politics and I don't think that 'no' is a good strategy for Juntos por el Cambio."
Opposition Senator Luis Juez echoed those sentiments, telling the TN news channel that "it was unnecessary to close the door on him 20 months before the election."