A decisive majority of Argentinian voters opted for attempting one thing new after they elected Javier Milei to be the nation’s subsequent president.
Amid hovering inflation and rising poverty, Milei, a right-wing populist who promised a radical shakeup of the federal government, defeated incumbent financial system minister Sergio Massa within the run-off vote on Sunday with greater than 55% of votes, the very best proportion a presidential candidate has obtained since Argentina’s return to democracy in 1983.
The 53-year-old lawmaker who has self-identified as a libertarian and “anarcho-capitalist” campaigned on slashing public spending, eliminating the central financial institution, and switching the nation’s foreign money from the Argentinian peso to the U.S. greenback, amongst different drastic financial measures. He additionally rallied in opposition to intercourse schooling in colleges, pledged to curb abortion entry, and rejected local weather science as a socialist conspiracy.
However greater than any of his coverage proposals or platform particulars, Milei primarily got here to be identified all through the turbulent election season as an eccentric. A former rock musician who as soon as jammed in a Rolling Stones tribute band, the wild-haired Milei rose to prominence as a prolific economist and TV and radio commentator. On the marketing campaign path, he wielded a chainsaw on stage and smashed a piñata on air to represent his plans. He has made daring remarks starting from calling Pope Francis a “filthy leftist” to hailing American gangster Al Capone as a “hero.”
Milei’s critics have usually pointed to his outlandish conduct and weird pronouncements to argue his incompetency to rule—Argentinian journalist Juan Luis González’s unauthorized biography about Milei is entitled El Loco (The Madman)—however political observers say Milei’s election represents much less a present of assist for him and extra an outcry of frustration in opposition to the established order. Native political guide Lucas Romero instructed the Related Press: “It is a triumph that’s much less as a consequence of Milei and his peculiarities and particularities and extra to the demand for change.”
Nonetheless, maybe nothing has raised extra questions concerning the President-elect’s psychological acuity and health to guide than the widely-reported (and ridiculed) matter of whom he turns to for recommendation: Conan, Murray, Milton, Robert and Lucas. They had been the primary individuals he thanked when he completed first within the nation’s presidential primaries in August—besides they’re not likely individuals.
“Who else?” he stated. “My four-legged youngsters,” referring to his 5 canines whom he has referred to as “the very best strategists.”
It began when Milei adopted an English mastiff named Conan, a reference to the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian, in 2004. González, the Argentinian journalist and unofficial Milei biographer, wrote within the Buenos Aires Instances that the pet turned, in Milei’s phrases, his “true and biggest love” and that Milei got here to see Conan as “actually his son.” Milei, who’s single and childless, has credited the 200-pound canine with being his closest pal and confidante and sticking by his facet via troublesome and lonely instances.
When Conan died in 2017, Milei reportedly visited a medium to speak along with his late beloved pet. It was in that telepathic dialog, Milei has stated, that Conan gave him the mission to change into president of Argentina. Based on Argentina’s La Nacion newspaper, Milei believes that he and Conan first met in a earlier life greater than 2,000 years in the past as a gladiator and lion within the Roman Colosseum and that the pair didn’t struggle as a result of they had been destined to affix forces sooner or later, and he believes his presidential marketing campaign was that predestined second.
In 2018, Milei went on to pay about $50,000, in response to Reuters and the New York Instances, to U.S. firm PerPETuate to clone Conan utilizing his DNA, one thing Milei had reportedly been planning on doing for a while. The process resulted in 5 puppies, whom Milei named after the unique Conan and the economists Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, and Robert Lucas. Milei repeatedly refers back to the present clone Conan as his son—and doesn’t distinguish him from the unique Conan—and the opposite 4 canines as his “grandchildren.”
González and different Argentine information shops have reported that Milei seeks counsel from his canines on issues of his marketing campaign, coverage, and extra. In an August interview with Spanish newspaper 20minutos, González stated that Milei “is satisfied that the canines advise him in numerous areas: one in politics, one other in economics, one other offers him normal recommendation.” González added that he’s nervous about such an “unstable chief” in an already “unstable” Argentina: “This man who would command the destiny of the nation wakes up every day, does medium classes with the canines, after which makes a decree primarily based on that. It’s very stunning.”
When requested by The Economist in September concerning the experiences of his unconventional canine cupboard, Milei didn’t deny it, responding with seeming pleasure: “What’s it they are saying, that my canines decide my methods, sure? That they’re like a strategic committee? They’re the very best strategic committee on the earth. Inform me: when has an outsider-outsider achieved what we achieved in two years? If that’s the case, they’re the very best political analysts on the earth.”