Milei’s inauguration message bypasses the Legislative Assembly, sparking controversy. Supporters view it as direct communication with the people, while critics see it as disregarding democracy.
Forces opposing Javier Milei’s new government expressed dissatisfaction with the libertarian leader’s decision to ignore the Legislative Assembly in his inauguration message, with his back turned to Congress. Radicals, Peronists, and even those close to Milei’s ideas believe that this dismissive attitude towards the most representative institution of the republican system is not a positive signal for democracy.
The libertarian leader intends to deliver his first address as president on the steps of Congress on Sunday at noon after receiving the mandate in the Chamber of Deputies. To speak directly to his followers from La Libertad Avanza, he has invited them to attend the Congress Square with Argentine flags.
Milei presents the beginning of a new era in Argentina. After hearing critical comments from some of his colleagues, the president attempted to soften his stance with a libertarian legislator, stating that it is not a snub to Congress or the “political caste” but a form of direct communication with the people that he intends to carry out during his term.
Critics of the new government observe that Milei only addresses his supporters and ignores the rest of the population, represented by their representatives in Congress, which is concerning. According to them, rejecting the Legislative Assembly as a symbolic sign of disdain for the “political caste” insults the 44% of Argentinians who did not vote for La Libertad Avanza.
A legislator who aligns with the new president’s proposals points out that it is curious that Milei, who claims to preach liberal ideas like Juan Bautista Alberdi, would choose to ignore this intermediary body, which the inspirer of the National Constitution himself praises as the most plural in the republican system.
Germán Martínez, leader of the Union for the Fatherland bloc, expressed his discontent with the newly appointed president of the Chamber of Deputies, Martín Menem, who is a convinced libertarian. He warned that the president should not address his first words to the entire nation. However, even if the president turns around after receiving the attributes of power to address the palace’s steps for his speech, his bloc will continue sitting in their seats. “No matter what Milei does, we will fulfill our institutional role,” he responds.
There are two perspectives. “Milei is unaware of what he is ignoring,” adds another enigmatic legislator. The newly appointed president needs to realize that ignoring Congress creates unnecessary discomfort, especially when presenting a set of ambitious bills to initiate his term. Suppose La Libertad Avanza needs the necessary majority to pass them, as it only has 15% of Deputies and 8% in the Senate. In that case, the Chamber will need the support of opposition groups. This legislator says that his lack of respect for Congress at the beginning of his term will not help.
Milei is confident that the 56% of the votes he obtained in the runoff will provide him with the political capital needed to implement shock changes and overcome the most challenging months regarding economic crisis and inflation. The “caste” believes he should obey that mandate. Beyond his interpretation of the election results, the president-elect is aware of the need to continually validate and demonstrate his widespread approval, so he must communicate with the public.
Congress members supporting Milei and those opposing him agree that if the newly appointed president manages to pass the fundamental reforms he seeks, he will attempt to govern by decree and avoid the Parliament. They dismiss the possibility that the package of laws he will send to legislators in the coming days will contain numerous delegations to manage the administration without the need to go to Congress, where the support of each opposition vote will be costly.
Milei will try to “flatten” Congress next year. Among the most obstinate opponents are the words: “We’ll see if he succeeds; the united opposition can turn the tables and set the agenda.”