Argentina: Javier Milei: From rock singer and goalkeeper to president

Argentina
Javier Milei: From rock singer and goalkeeper to president

Javier Milei celebrates with his sister Karina Milei. photo

© Natacha Pisarenko/AP/dpa

Argentina’s newly elected head of state is an eccentric. During the election campaign, the economist repeatedly appeared with a running chainsaw. His most important companions: his sister and his cloned dogs.

Javier Milei is planning nothing less than a revolution. In the midst of a severe economic crisis Argentina’s future president is turning things around and steering the South American country in a completely new direction. “The situation in Argentina is critical. Our country needs drastic change,” said Javier Milei after his victory in the runoff election on Sunday. “There is no room for half measures.”

The ultra-liberal economist – he describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist” – wants to trim the state to a minimum, cut social programs and largely leave the free market to its own devices. The weakening national currency, the peso, is to be replaced by the US dollar and he would like to abolish the central bank. This is a radical turnaround in Argentina, where the public sector traditionally plays a strong role and many workers are employed by the state.

Milei comes from a humble background and played as a goalkeeper for the Chacarita Juniors football club in Buenos Aires as a teenager. According to his own statements, he was repeatedly beaten by his father as a child, and he only recently got back in touch with his parents. Milei studied economics and later worked as a consultant and chief economist for several companies in Argentina. He published a number of books, repeatedly appeared on television with disheveled hair and a leather jacket, and played in a rock band. Today the 53-year-old is considered a passionate opera fan.

He calls his sister “el jefe”

Since 2021, Milei has been a member of parliament, where he railed against the political “caste” he hates. His closest confidante is his sister Karina Milei, whom he calls “el jefe” (the boss). She is considered the strategic mind behind his campaign. “Without her, none of this would have been possible,” Milei said of his younger sister on election night.

In an interview, Milei once explained the siblings’ roles as follows: “Moses was a great leader, but he wasn’t good at spreading the word. So God sent Aaron to spread the message. Well, Kari is Moses and I am the one who spreads the word. I’m just a multiplier.”

Milei lives with several giant mastiffs that he had cloned with his genetic material after the death of his previous dog Conan. They are named after liberal economists such as Milton Friedman and Robert Lucas. The long-time bachelor Milei has been in a relationship with the comedian Fátima Florez for a few months.

Depends on alliances

Milei is considered an eccentric who stubbornly sticks to his convictions and has difficulty making compromises. However, his success as president will now largely depend on how quickly he is able to forge alliances.

His party La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) does not have a majority in either chamber of parliament, does not have a single provincial governor and probably does not even have enough qualified personnel to fill important key positions. Without a certain willingness to talk, Milei will not get very far as president.

dpa

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