After his victory in the 13 August primaries, libertarian economist Javier Milei is now the obvious frontrunner in Argentina’s presidential race. As his chances of winning the presidency grow, Milei has begun assembling more detailed plans for his potential time in office — including significant goals for the energy sector that may have a hard time getting through Congress.
For his energy plans, Milei is working closely with Eduardo Rodriguez Chirillo, who played a significant role in the sector’s pro-market reforms of the 1990s. With his help, Milei wants to privatize or close all state-owned enterprises. This reportedly includes potentially selling Fiscal Oilfields (YPF), of which the government owns 51%.
Energy Reforms Easier Said Than Done
Milei and his team are likewise eager to liberalize the gas market, economically diversify the entire energy sector and develop infrastructure to sell gas internationally. But such big plans may be very hard to pull off without political power beyond the presidency, at least from the start.
For example, the potential sale of YPF “would face congressional resistance and is unlikely to happen during a first term, as Milei’s party would only have some 45 of 257 deputies and 10 of 72 senators, should he win the election,” says Horizon Engage senior analyst Marcelo Garcia. Milei has thus far not shown any interest in compromising with his opponents, whom he describes as part of a political “caste” he is here to eliminate.
Milei’s Climate Change Denial Problem
Milei has also stirred controversy with his stance on climate change, which he once described as “a fraud.”
Although he has begun to tone down his comments, Chirillo is compensating for him by reassuring that Argentina would comply with its international commitments to reduce emissions yet not move forward toward a full electrification of the energy matrix in the near future.
“These ideas,” Garcia explains, “follow a pro-market pattern but deliver a certain dose of realism, which is likely to consolidate should Milei reach office.”
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