The extreme right has broken into Argentine politics. The La Libertad Avanza party, headed by the liberal economists Javier Milei and José Luis Espert, won five of the 127 seats in the Chamber of Deputies at stake in its first electoral appointment, the legislative elections last Sunday. It is a meager result in the general count, reflecting an influence currently limited to Buenos Aires and its metropolitan area, but the discourse of its referents is beginning to permeate the streets and the public agenda.
“The party is new, but those of us who have been studying these libertarian groups saw that the phenomenon in Argentina had been growing for five years through social networks, meetings and talks. From the beginning it appealed much more to young people because of the way in which it was spread ”, details the political scientist Sergio Morresi, a researcher on Latin American right-wing leaders and organizations. The bulk of Milei’s voters and those who attend her rallies are men under the age of 30. “Traditional political discourses do not challenge young people, who have material demands such as access to housing and stable employment, to which the political system has not been able to respond in the last 30 years. There is anger and indignation at the impossibility of planning their life course for the future, “adds Lara Goyburu, from the Network of Politologists.
“The discourse that these forces embody has penetrated very deep. It is not new, because it is also a discourse of equality and justice, to say that it is tremendously unfair that there are people who work long hours, who work hard and live in conditions similar to those who receive contributions from the State. There is a part of the population that wants a differentiation to be reinstated ”, Morresi explains about the vote for Milei from sectors with little income.
The Argentine extreme right has much more support among men than among women, largely due to its anti-feminist discourse, contrary to the gender and sexual diversity policies carried out by the Argentine State in recent years. “In Argentina, two very different rights are beginning to merge: one liberal and the other reactionary nationalist. The free market discourse is fused with one that is very conservative, anti-gender and anti-left, ”Morresi details.
Among the recent conquests of feminism that Milei opposes is the legalization of abortion – “The woman can choose about her body, but what she has inside her womb is not her body, it is another individual,” she said in an interview – and parity in the electoral lists – “It seems to me to denigrate the capacity of women because if you can achieve it by your own talent, it should not be done in a violent way, because the imposition of a quota is to impose something that does not occur naturally,” she said. the elected deputy today.
The generalized disenchantment of the population with the two great coalitions of the country – the ruling Frente de Todos and the opposition Juntos por el Cambio – was reflected in a drop in turnout in last Sunday’s legislative elections and in the growth of other political options , either provincial forces or parties to the right and left of the two alliances.
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For now, they are minority options, since the two great coalitions exceed 70% of the votes, but unlike the left, the irruption of the extreme right “twisted the public discussion agenda,” Morresi highlights. “On Milei’s agenda is not to raise taxes and we saw that during the Together for Change campaign she made her candidates commit not to raise taxes,” he details.
The proclamations of Milei and Espert in favor of the possession of weapons and the police heavy hand with crime have remained at the center of the debate in recent days after a custodian threatened to draw a weapon in the electoral bunker of La Libertad advances last Sunday. This week, in addition, a 17-year-old teenager, Lucas González, was shot in the head by a policeman when he was returning with three friends from playing soccer. “These speeches are not harmless here or anywhere in the world. I refer to Lucas’s trigger-happy case, but the Capitol shot [de EE UU] it also has to do with the rise of antidemocratic speeches ”, Goyburu emphasizes.
The almost technical tie between the two large coalitions in the Lower House —118 legislators from the FdT and 116 from the JxC— makes small groups the key to the approval of new laws. However, Miei’s repeated refusals to dialogue will turn against him once he takes office on December 10. “Congress is the sphere of dialogue and if they begin to vote with the largest interblocks that they identify with the caste, it will be necessary to see how they defend it before their electorate. I think that institutional policy is going to put a limit on them ”, predicts Goyburu.
Morresi believes that for the future three possible scenarios are open for the extreme right in Argentina. The first is that the new party manages to stay united beyond its differences and grows at the cost of the entry of some legislators from Together for Change who are similar to its ideas. “That would allow them to grow throughout the country,” says the author of The new Argentine right.
The second scenario contemplates an encapsulated party that loses steam in the 2023 elections, since in the presidential elections the vote tends to polarize. The third is that its leaders “be seduced and tamed to some extent by Together for Change and incorporated into a broader army that strengthens the wing furthest to the right,” he concludes.
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