Reactions have been mixed as the world reacts to the election of libertarian outsider Javier Milei as the next president of Argentina.
Taking a chance on the eccentric economist’s programme of radical reform after decades of economic stagnation, the Latin American nation handed Milei an overwhelming victory on Sunday.
His election heralds a dramatic shake-up of the country’s economy and institutions amid public anger over high inflation and record poverty rates under the centre-left Peronist coalition.
“I am a man of democracy, and I value nothing more than the popular verdict. I trust that tomorrow we can start working with Javier Milei to guarantee an orderly transition,” said outgoing President Alberto Fernandez.
“I congratulate Javier Milei for bravely representing the will to advance and prosper that lives in the hearts of Argentinians. He knew how to listen to the voice of young people and the fatigue of millions of neglected and impoverished people,” said former President Mauricio Macri.
Reactions from across the globe illustrated that many states are nervous about where Milei might lead the Latin American nation.
Voice of the people
Washington’s reaction came via National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who congratulated the president-elect, as well as “the people of Argentina for holding free and fair elections”.
“We look forward to building on our strong bilateral relationship based on our shared commitment to human rights, democratic values, and transparency,” he added.
“Democracy is the voice of the people, and it must always be respected … I wish the new government good luck and success,” said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.”
However, not all in the neighbourhood were so conciliatory.
“The extreme right has won in Argentina. It is the decision of its society. Sad for Latin America, and we’ll see …The relationships between Colombia and Argentina, the bonds between their communities are maintained in mutual respect. I congratulate Milei,” said Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro.
“As president of Chile, I will work tirelessly to keep our sister nations united and collaborating for the well-being of all,” said Chilean President Gabriel Boric.
“Argentina is a close partner of the European Union. I thank Alberto Fernandez for the excellent cooperation over the last years. I look forward to continuing this cooperation for the benefit of our peoples,” wrote President of the European Council Charles Michel on X.
Argentina is a close partner of the European Union. I thank @alferdez for the excellent cooperation over the last years.
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) November 20, 2023
Russia also reacted with caution. Milei has previously spoken of reassessing relations with Moscow and support for Ukraine.
“We hope that the course towards commitment to multipolarity, independent foreign policy and a firm defense of national interests will be further developed. We are confident that this will be facilitated by Argentina’s accession to BRICS, which will open up new horizons and opportunities for it,” Russia’s ambassador to Argentina, Dimitry Feokitistov, said, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin had taken note of statements about Russia from Milei but wanted to maintain strong ties with Buenos Aires.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was much more forthcoming.
“Congratulations to Javier Milei on his convincing victory in Argentina’s presidential elections,” Zelenskyy wrote on X. “I appreciate his clear stance in support of Ukraine. I look forward to working together to strengthen our cooperation and restore international order based on international law.”
Congratulations to @JMilei on his convincing victory in Argentina’s presidential elections. I appreciate his clear stance in support of Ukraine. I look forward to working together to strengthen our 🇺🇦🇦🇷 cooperation and restore international order based on international law.
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 20, 2023
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Beijing hopes to “continue our friendship, boost our respective development and revitalisation with win-win cooperation”.
China is a major creditor for Argentina’s struggling economy.
Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund, with which Buneo Ares has a $44bn loan programme, wrote: “Congratulations to President-elect Javier Milei. We look forward to working closely with him and his administration in the period ahead to develop and implement a strong plan to safeguard macroeconomic stability and strengthen inclusive growth for all Argentinians.”
Congratulations to 🇦🇷 President-elect Javier Milei @JMilei. We look forward to working closely with him and his administration in the period ahead to develop and implement a strong plan to safeguard macroeconomic stability and strengthen inclusive growth for all Argentinians.
— Kristalina Georgieva (@KGeorgieva) November 20, 2023
Former US president Donald Trump, to whom Milei is often compared, also sent congratulations.
“Congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for president of Argentina. The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you. You will turn your country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!”
Argentina’s former president, Jair Bolsanaro, also reacted happily.
“Congratulations to the Argentine people for Javier Milei’s victory. Hope will shine again in South America. May these good winds reach the United States and Brazil so that honesty, progress and freedom come back to all of us,” he said.
First appeared on www.aljazeera.com