In a historic move, the BRICS alliance invited six new countries to join the bloc during the 15th summit in August. The Johannesburg summit saw BRICS inviting Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Argentina, Egypt, Iran, and Ethiopia to expand into an eleven member bloc. While the five oil-producing countries could accept the BRICS invitation, Argentina might be the only country that could reject the invite. The five oil-producing countries have expressed their interest to join in 2024, but Argentina’s decision hangs on a thread.
Why Would Argentina Decline BRICS Invitation?
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez hailed the BRICS invitation as a “great opportunity” that would “strengthen” the country. However, despite his willingness to join BRICS, Argentina now faces a peculiar problem. The Latin American country is having its general election this month and a new government could be formed in December.
For the uninitiated, President Fernandez will not seek re-election and will be replaced by Presidential candidate Sergio Massa to fight the elections. Massa has confirmed that Argentina will join BRICS if he’s elected President in the upcoming elections. Fernandez and Massa belong to the liberal ‘Justicialist Party’.
However, their opponent, the far-right ‘Republican Proposal’ party has fielded Presidential candidate Javier Milei to win the elections. Milei has vowed to reject the BRICS invitation if he is elected President in the upcoming elections. The far-right candidate is riding on the anti-establishment wave and hit out against China and Russia calling them “assassin governments”.
He also lashed out against BRICS for inviting Iran to join the bloc. Milei cited Iran’s role in bombing a Jewish center in 1994 in Buenos Aires, calling the memories “an open wound”. The Presidential candidate also criticized Brazil’s President Lula da Silva for allowing BRICS to enter South America. “I defend liberty. China, Putin, and Lula don’t,” he said on the BRICS grouping.
In conclusion, Argentina will join BRICS if Massa wins the election and reject the invitation if Milei wins. Therefore, Argentina’s joining or rejecting BRICS is now on the shoulders of the voters.