Argentina is facing four years of far-right government under the Presidency of Javier Milei. As the Herald team said collectively last week, we believe that a Milei government is a threat to democratic coexistence in Argentina. However, the people have expressed their will at the ballot box, and the democratic process must be respected.
The country faces a series of challenges. First and foremost is the long economic crisis that has sunk more than 40% of the population into poverty. The election results represent a cry for help by a people impoverished by successive governments and who find themselves unable to envision a prosperous future.
Austerity measures like those Milei proposes place a disproportionate burden of suffering on the most vulnerable. The state’s withdrawal from the economy cannot come at the cost of Argentines’ most basic human rights.
Secondly, Milei’s victory is a warning to Argentina’s entire political system, because it shows that an outsider with extreme proposals was better able to channel the popular anger and frustration than career politicians.
As in 2001, the entire political system has failed the Argentine people.
Milei must now build legitimacy in the eyes of those who did not choose him at the ballot box. He is the president of 46 million Argentines, not just the 14.5 million who voted for him, and he must understand that he cannot govern for one sector and subjugate the rest. His government will face opposition — his challenge, then, is to work through that opposition with discourse, not repression.
Winning the run-off is not a carte blanche to run roughshod over Argentina’s democratic consensus. The presence of the denialist Victoria Villarruel in the country’s highest offices must not lead to backsliding in the process of memory, truth and justice. The systematic plan of extermination implemented by the last civic-military dictatorship from 1976 was state terrorism, and a crime against humanity.
Based on comments made by La Libertad Avanza leaders, we are worried about what a Milei government will mean for the rights of women, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, and other minorities and marginalized groups. The new government must guarantee their safety and well-being and listen to their voices.
As we said in our collective editorial, a Milei government must provide answers to the population’s demands without breaking the democratic consensus that we have spent 40 years building. In this new political context, the Buenos Aires Herald renews its commitment to bear witness and hold power to account with intellectual honesty and rigorous journalism.