Luis Petri, the former UCR deputy for Mendoza who ran for vice president on Patricia Bullrich’s ticket, will be Javier Milei’s defense minister, the president-elect’s team confirmed on Monday morning.
As Milei’s team observed, his inclusion in the cabinet means Bullrich and Petri — the presidential ticket for the conservative opposition bloc Juntos por el Cambio — have both been incorporated into the government of Milei’s far-right La Libertad Avanza coalition. Bullrich will be Milei’s security minister, his team announced on Friday.
“I want to thank president-elect Javier Milei for giving me a chance and his trust to be the next defense minister,” Petri said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “We will start working today for a change that will allow us to value the role of our armed forces once again.”
Petri added that he would honor the Armed Forces’ “essential” role to “guarantee the country’s sovereignty and independence; its territorial integrity; to protect life, freedom, and contribute to our homeland’s development.”
A spokesperson for Petri declined to offer more information about the negotiations for his appointment.
Petri is a member of Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), the oldest existing party in Argentina and currently part of the Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) coalition. After coming third in the general elections after Milei and ruling coalition candidate, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, Bullrich and Petri announced they would back the far-right libertarian on a personal level.
Bullrich had harshly criticized Milei during the presidential campaign, saying that Milei’s proposals were dangerous and bad. Milei, for his part, had accused her of being a terrorist and planting bombs in kindergartens during her youth.
“We decided to forgive each other,” Bullrich told the Herald in the joint press conference she gave with Petri on October 25.
Petri is the only prominent UCR member who publicly supports Milei. UCR president and Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales condemned Bullrich and Petri for backing the soon-to-be president, and confirmed the UCR’s virtual separation from JxC in October.
Other JxC members, like Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, also rejected the alliance, saying it was unilateral and had not been discussed within the coalition or Bullrich and Larreta’s party, PRO.
Petri, who was a national deputy for Mendoza province from 2013 to 2021, has no previous experience in the defense field.
On Thursday, Bullrich met with Milei to discuss her role in his government, before her appointment in the security portfolio was confirmed. A source from Bullrich’s team told the Herald on Thursday that “each one has to fight for the position they want. If Petri wants to be defense minister, he will have to get that himself.”