Presidential hopeful for La Libertad Avanza Javier Milei closed his primary campaign on Monday at the Movistar Arena, Buenos Aires, rousing thousands of supporters with a typically fiery speech.
The libertarian lawmaker entered the arena by walking through the crowd as the sound of ‘Panic Show’ by La Renga rang out. The song starts with the phrase: “Hola a todos, yo soy el león” (“Hey everyone, I’m the lion”) – an image with which the outspoken economist has repeatedly linked himself. Raising the energy levels in the room, Milei euphorically jumped up and down as he finished his walk and took to the stage.
The 52-year-old was joined by La Libertad Avanza’s main figures, including his running-mate Victoria Villarruel, Buenos Aires City mayoral hopeful, Ramiro Marra and Buenos Aires Province gubernatorial hopeful, Carolina Piparo, as well as his campaign team including his sister, Karina Milei and economic advisors.
The rally was broadcast on YouTube, where some 30,000 more people logged on to watch it. Attendance was strong at the arena, which has a capacity of 15,000.
Milei started a jubilant 30-minute speech by referring to the inception of his party. “Once we had the vehicle to compete, we were told us libertarians were nice enough for TV viewers, but not to generate votes,” he told those gathered.
Remembering his strong performance in the 2021 midterms, in which he was elected as a national deputy for Buenos Aires City, Milei went on to lash out at critics who doubted his staying power.
“In that historic result they kept on insisting that we would vanish, that we wouldn’t be heard, but today the most viewed speeches at the Chamber of Deputies are by yours truly,” said the lawmaker. “Now they say it’s impossible for Argentines to vote for a libertarian president. We’re ready to represent true Argentines. Go vote, we have to help this country move forward and that’s the only way.”
Milei repeatedly played up his “anti-establishment” stance. “This model of crooked politicians, crony businessmen, union leaders turning their backs on workers left us with this mess. In that context, we went from having a rich society to a poor one, where the only ones who prospered were from the damned political class,” he declared.
The libertarian leader then sang the praises of former president Carlos Saúl Menem and his 1989-1999 spell as head of state.
“We had credit again, we could buy a house, a car, today that seems incredible. We had a healthy currency,” said Milei, who has long claimed that the late Peronist leader was “the best president in history.”
Thanking his family and four dogs for their support, the lawmaker also lashed out at the media, saying he is “misunderstood by stuffy journalists when I say whose privileges are over”.
Citing the Menem and 2015-2019 Mauricio Macri administration as two “lost opportunities,” Milei declared that the “third time will be the charm” – showing confidence over his presidential ambitions.
Closing his speech at around 10pm local time, the libertarian hopeful said he recognised that “any fear change.” He declared this Sunday’s PASO primaries as ““an opportunity for the 2001 chants to become a reality and to embrace the idea of freedom once again.”
Outlining his controversial economic policies, which involved dollarisation of Argentina’s economy and the destruction of the Central Bank, Milei declared: “The peso is the currency of politicians. It’s worth less than manure.”
Even though there were references, Milei gave no actual names to “the establishment,” but he did say: “There have been Peronists, Radicals, a military dictatorship and a bunch of in-betweeners making a killing at our expense”.
He claimed that La Libertad Avanza is the only front positioned to fight “looters.”
“Don’t let them take our freedom, let’s go and fight for a prosperous Argentina. Long live liberty!” he yelled as he concluded his speech accompanied by confetti explosions.