Is Karina Milei the driving force behind the presidential leadership in Argentina, referred to as ‘El Jefe’?

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When Javier Milei initially entered the presidential palace in Argentina at the beginning of this month, he was alone without his vice-president, Victoria Villarruel, or his partner, the actor Fátima Flórez.

Karina, Milei’s sister, was seen as the true force behind his leadership during this pivotal political moment, according to numerous analysts.

During the period of campaigning for the election, Karina, also known as “El Jefe,” would introduce her brother to the audience before he took the stage.

According to the unauthorized biography “El Loco” by Juan Luis González, she is not just Milei’s master of ceremonies, but also manages his schedule, controls who can meet with him, and even chooses his attire.

The new administration’s most discreet member is credited with leading one of the most surprising political movements in recent Argentine history. She played a key role in organizing the movement that garnered an impressive 56% of the overall votes in the election.

Kari, referred to by her brother, contributed several ideas that gained him popularity, one of which was the raffle of his salary as a member of parliament when he was initially elected in 2021.

During a television interview the next year, Milei used a biblical comparison to describe their dynamic. He stated, “Moses was a strong leader, but not a skilled communicator, so God sent him Aaron,” and became emotional as he added, “Kari is like Moses and I am her spokesperson.”

Argentina has a rich history of couples who held significant power in the realm of presidential politics. Juan Domingo Perón and Eva “Evita” Perón established a populist movement that has shaped politics in the nation for numerous years, while also implementing paid vacations and women’s suffrage.

From 2003 to 2015, Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took turns serving as president, both with a Peronist platform.

Some people view the fact that this time it is two siblings without spouses or children as a reflection of the disruptive political views that the Milei family is introducing to Argentina, which is currently facing a crisis.

According to Carolina Barry, a researcher in political science at Conicet and Tres de Febrero National University, Karina Milei holds significant influence over his life, from managing stage lighting to shaping his business connections and aiding in weight loss. Despite their major differences, she draws parallels between Milei’s advisor and Eva Perón, who held immense power outside of traditional political structures.

However, unlike Eva Perón, who took on the role of representing Argentina’s marginalized population and became a prominent figure in the Peronist movement, Karina Milei has only granted a few interviews. She earned a degree in public relations from Argentina Business University and had moderate success with a few businesses, including a bakery, before she began managing her brother’s public appearances and helping to launch his political career about ten years ago.

Javier Milei’s speeches and flamboyant TV appearances, in which he espoused libertarian economic ideas, struck a chord as Argentina was experiencing one of its most devastating economic crises. His sister has not left his side since then.

Milei’s initial actions as president included abolishing a restriction that prohibited government officials from hiring family members for government roles. Karina has since been named general secretary of the presidency, a position equivalent to a minister, and will be responsible for duties such as creating public policies, composing speeches, and handling interactions with the community. She is being referred to by some as a co-president.

Melisa Tatiana Slep, a political analyst and PhD candidate at Queen Mary University, believes that Karina made a wise choice in maintaining a low public presence. She notes that Karina was involved in her brother’s 2019 stage production, “Milei’s Consulting Room.”

She stated, “This is not a matter of shyness or reluctance to speak in public. Karina chooses to keep her opinions private and handles everything behind closed doors. This allows her to avoid any confrontations and is a strategic approach.”

Karina Milei is part of a cohort of female individuals who hold important positions in the Milei administration.

Victoria Villarruel, the current vice-president, will be in charge of the senate and will also have responsibility for overseeing security and defense matters. She has previously defended military personnel who were accused of violating human rights during Argentina’s military dictatorship.

Patricia Bullrich, who placed third in the presidential race and was previously a fierce opponent of Milei, has been officially appointed as the minister of security for the second time. Economist Diana Mondino will now head the foreign ministry. Conservative journalist Sandra Pettovello will oversee a newly created ministry responsible for education, labor, and development matters.

Slep stated that conservative women who hold beliefs that oppose progressive intersectional feminism are assuming influential positions in the political realm.

People are wondering how the relationship between Karina Milei and the different ministers will unfold. For instance, Villarruel, who was thought to have played a crucial part in Milei’s presidency victory, is now less visible.

Barry stated that the Mileis family’s influence stems from their ability to defy traditional expectations for a president in a predominantly conservative country.

Barry stated that Milei’s coalition, known as Liberty Advances, is a diverse group with varying perspectives and methods. He noted that there is a faction that seeks to shake up the status quo and another that holds more traditional values and would resist any unconventional ideas regarding family and other topics.

Forecasting future events is a challenging task. The government may need to implement drastic actions that could result in significant hardship, making it uncertain what may occur in the upcoming months.


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