The reactions of right-wing politicians and voters aligned with the opposition to the government of Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) to the election of Javier Milei for the Presidency of Argentina reveal the hope of a similar turnaround in Brazil in 2026. For experts interviewed by People’s Gazette, the impact on Brazilian politics of the Argentine libertarian’s victory at the polls last Sunday (19) is still symbolic, fueling the spirit of the conservative public, starting with next year’s municipal elections. It also has the potential to encourage the return of street demonstrations.
The general assessment is that the arrival of the anti-system opponent at Casa Rosada will bring important challenges to the PT administration, considering the Argentine president-elect’s harsh criticism of Mercosur and the figure of Lula. Furthermore, the Brazilian opposition will use Milei’s example as a reaction by society against left-wing populism. The defeat of his opponent Sergio Massa, Minister of Economy, amid the lack of control over inflation, public finances and poverty, will bring subsidies, as well as the support that the Argentine government leader received from the PT and Planalto.
“At first, the opposition will try to cling to Milei’s image, especially during the honeymoon atmosphere that every newly elected official enjoys. The strategy will seek to maximize the relevance of his role, but it also involves risks, if the performance of the new Argentine president disappoints”, assessed André Felipe Rosa, professor of Political Science at UDF. On the other hand, if the Argentine libertarian manages to change the economic indicators of the neighboring country, which today are all increasingly negative, “the image of the right will resurface along with social support”.
Brazil’s opposition follows Milei’s movements closely
Despite the campaign of fear, which had the help of PT marketers, Milei had 56% of the votes, and Massa 44%. The government leader didn’t even wait for the official result to recognize his defeat and congratulate the libertarian’s opponent. Milei already started this Monday (20) the government transition that will inaugurate next month.
He said in his victory speech that the country needs drastic measures, “without gradualism and tepidity”. Lula was left to praise the Argentine democratic process, but without mentioning the name of the elected president.
The Brazilian opposition, in turn, has been closely following the libertarian’s every move since the first round of the elections. Among the parliamentarians who went to Argentina to follow the process, deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PL-SP) is the one who maintains the most permanent contact.
Faced with the failure of traditional parties to stabilize the economy, Argentina breaks for the first time with traditional politics, associated with vices and corruption, after 40 years of redemocratization. For analysts, Milei’s proposals considered extravagant, such as ending the Central Bank and the Argentine peso, dollarizing the economy of a country that does not have sufficient foreign exchange reserves, but whose people save in American currency, will have unpredictable consequences.
Favorable wave could still be reinforced by Trump’s victory
Natália Fingermann, professor of international relations at Ibmec-SP, highlighted Milei’s significant victory in provinces that elected Massa in the first round as proof of the population’s tiredness with traditional politics. “The turnaround is not just the result of rhetoric, which includes threats of ruptures with Brazil and China. It’s something much bigger,” she said. Given the need to have congressional support to make changes, she considers the composition of the new government with the traditional right to be inevitable and sees no chance of breaking economic relations with Brazil, due to mutual dependence, especially in the automotive industry.
In any case, in his view, there is a new environment to be explored by the Brazilian opposition, which can be significantly reinforced with an eventual victory by Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential elections. Not by chance, the former American president himself celebrated the victory of Milei, as well as the right in Brazil.
On social media, politicians mentioned the “defeat of the São Paulo Forum” and placed their bets on a new wave against leftist governments in the Americas. “Hope shines again in South America. May these good winds reach the United States and Brazil so that honesty, progress and freedom return to all of us”, expressed former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) on the networks social. He is expected to be present at the inauguration of the Argentine president, on the 10th.
Parliamentarians, such as senators Sergio Moro (União-PR), Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI) and Flávio Bolsonaro (PL-RJ), deputies Marcel Van Hattem (Novo-RS), Ricardo Salles (PL-SP), Nikolas Ferreira (PL-MG), Carol de Toni (PL-SC), Júlia Zanatta (PL-SC) and Bia Kicis (PL-DF), as well as former president Bolsonaro’s lawyer, Fabio Wajngarten, expressed euphoria with Milei’s election .
Wajngarten even predicted the return of the right to the Planalto in 2026, highlighting the “lessons” of the elections in Argentina. In his analysis, he highlighted that Milei’s authenticity and his speech aligned with the desires of the majority of the population were decisive for the victory, relegating the importance of financial resources and media and government support. Furthermore, he noted that the population’s decision to actively participate in the polls, instead of abstaining, played a crucial role.
Milei’s victory could favor the return of street demonstrations
Argentine political scientist Leandro Gambiati, director of Dominium Consultoria, assesses that Milei’s victory has already provided more balance to the ideological map of South American governments, previously more inclined to the left. He thinks it’s natural for Brazil’s right-wing leaders, and especially Bolsonaro and his allies, to celebrate the opposition’s victory in Argentina, seeking to explore its immediate aspects.
“This result serves as fuel for the political group affected by the defeat in the presidential elections and the negative repercussions of the acts of January 8th to regain its mobilization power,” he said. Gambiati believes that the first signs of recovery began earlier, with the “little by little” return of street demonstrations, just like last November 15th and October 12th.
“The symbolism of the Argentine ballot boxes is strong, but it is good to remember that each election reflects the population’s feelings at a given moment. There, the revolt against impoverishment and corruption weighed against the government. Here, we still need to evaluate the real expectations of power”, he concluded.