Argentine President Javier Milei spoke publicly for the first time about the botched omnibus bill session in Congress, calling the falling through of his flagship legislative proposal “fabulous” in an interview with Radio Mitre on Saturday. He also took jabs at opposition deputies and provincial governors and said that a deeper agreement with the right-wing party PRO is coming.
The President made these remarks from Rome, where he arrived on Friday after spending a week in Israel. Milei is scheduled to take part in the canonization ceremony of an Argentine woman named Mama Antula on Sunday. He will have a private audience with Pope Francis on Monday.
Among the highights of the talk was the president’s confirmation that he would deepen the agreement his government has with the PRO right-wing party, as his Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said on Thursday.
“We will definitely explore that,” he answered when asked if more PRO members would come into the government apart from Bullrich.
“It happened spontaneously after the [presidential] election of October 22, and in the [Lower] House in the last days, so naturally it will flow towards that; additionally, we get along very well,” he said. Milei revealed that he holds periodic conversations with former president Mauricio Macri, who is the founder of the PRO. He said that the chats are about building a coalition that “will make Argentina great again.”
Regarding the omnibus bill, which saw its end last Tuesday in Congress, the president said it will not be treated again. “I gave the order to cancel the bill,” Milei said. “I made it clear who is the caste, who are the corrupt, who are the filth of politics, who are the ones who ruin Argentines.”
“As a revelation principle, what happened is fabulous,” Milei added, using a concept that is part of game theory.
The president also equated political discussion with corruption. “Long live consensus is long live corruption,” he stated, saying that the fact that the bill will not pass does not constitute an obstacle to his austerity program in the short term. He also said that inflation is decreasing after the first monthly rate under his tenure, 25.5% in December, the highest since February 1991.
Milei also reiterated that dollarizing the economy is still a goal. “We are getting closer and closer to being able to dollarize,” he said. “We have accumulated close to US$7 billion in reserves and the monetary base is US$8 billion.”
Asked about the national government’s elimination of transport subsidies to provincial governments, the libertarian economist said it shouldn’t come as a surprise. “We said we would do that,” he said, adding that provincial governments should stop spending money on official advertising and concerts to compensate for the loss.
“[Córdoba governor Martín Llaryora] is crying over 20 billion pesos and pays 27 billion pesos in advertising,” he said. “Well, he should stop making agreements with the media so that they speak well of him. The same goes for the governor of Santa Fe [Maximiliano Pullaro].”