MADRID – Javier Milei’s election victory in Argentina has evoked mixed reactions in Spain.
Milei, the economist, considered ultra-right and candidate of the Libertad Avanza, defeated Sergio Massa by about 12 points in the second round of the presidential elections. The result has attracted a lot of attention both internationally and in Spain. According to the most recent data from the Spanish statistics agency INE, 353,000 Argentinians live in Spain.
The celebration of Vox
Santiago Abascal, the leader of the ultra-right Spanish party Vox, was naturally one of the first to congratulate Milei on his victory. In a post on social media, Abascal expressed his joy over Milei’s election. He sees this as a sign of hope and future for Argentina and Ibero-America. “Viva España, viva Argentina, vivan libres de socialismo y soberanas!” (Long live Spain, live Argentina, live free from socialism and sovereign!), Abascal wrote. In doing so, he expressed a clear rejection of socialism and emphasised the sovereignty of both countries.
Felicidades querido @JMilei por tu gran victoria en las elecciones presidenciales argentinas.
Hoy se abre un camino de futuro y esperanza para los argentinos y toda Iberoamérica que celebramos en España con especial alegría.
¡Viva España, viva Argentina, vivan libres de… pic.twitter.com/4XOCkvat5j
— Santiago Abascal 🇪🇸 (@Santi_ABASCAL) November 19, 2023
The ties between Vox and Milei have been visible for some time. Milei participated in events organised by Vox. This included the VIVA22 Festival, where he shared his political vision that has similarities with that of Vox. This was also reflected in his previous support for figures such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro.
At the other end of the political spectrum in Spain, the left-wing Podemos party expressed deep concern about the election results. Ione Belarra, the Minister of Social Rights and party secretary of Podemos, described Milei’s victory as “very bad news for Argentina and for the world.” She criticised Milei’s program as “openly anti-democratic” and against basic human rights and public services.
La victoria de Milei, con un programa abiertamente anti democrático, contra los servicios públicos y los derechos humanos más básicos es una pésima noticia para Argentina y para el mundo. Como siempre hemos dicho, a esta derecha asalvajada se le frena con más derechos y valentía.
— Ione Belarra (@ionebelarra) November 20, 2023
Irene Montero, Podemos’ Equality Minister, echoed these sentiments. She expressed her solidarity with democrats in Argentina. She stressed the need for continued efforts in feminism, social justice, peace, and rights in the face of what she sees as a “reactionary offensive”.
Yolanda Díaz expresses her concerns
Yolanda Díaz, the second vice president of the Spanish government and minister of labour, also expressed concern about the election results. In a tweet, she described the election day results as “a sad day for the democratic bloc around the world.” She also expressed her support for the Argentine people, who are feeling “insecurity and fear.” Díaz emphasised the need to provide better answers to the grievances that populists like Milei are tapping into. Finally, she called for the protection of democracy.
Es un día triste para el bloque democrático en todo el mundo. Mucho ánimo al pueblo argentino que hoy siente incertidumbre y miedo.
— Yolanda Díaz (@Yolanda_Diaz_) November 20, 2023
Pedro Sánchez still silent
Pedro Sánchez, the president of the Spanish government, has not made any public comment on Milei’s election until the time of writing this article. According to various Spanish media, his silence can be interpreted as a cautious approach, given the complex and sometimes tense relations between Spain and Latin America.