Right-wing populist Javier Milei wins Argentine election

Right-wing populist Javier Milei wins Argentine election

Argentinian voters on Sunday picked as their new president right-wing populist Javier Milei, who intends to swap out the peso for the dollar, believes climate change is a “socialist lie” and wants to loosen the country’s stringent gun laws.

Milei, a libertarian economist who describes himself as an “anarcho capitalist,” had been gaining in popularity by lambasting what he called the “political caste” amid 140% inflation and increasing poverty. The Donald Trump wannabe also thinks it should be legal to sell human organs and believes sex education really exists to destroy families.

His latest book, “The End of Inflation,” promises to improve the economy by slashing spending and abolishing the Central Bank, in addition to ditching the peso and embracing the dollar.

Milei’s team declared victory soon after his opponent, Economy Minister Sergio Massa of the center-left Peronist party, conceded defeat and congratulated Milei.

Immediately after Massa’s concession speech, the Argentine electoral authority began releasing partial results. With 95% of votes tallied, Milei had 55.8% and Massa 44.2%. If that margin holds, it would be wider than predicted by all polls and the widest since Argentina’s return of democracy in 1983.

Argentina's Economy Minister Sergio Massa concedes defeat

AP

Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa concedes defeat to opposition candidate Javier Milei in the presidential runoff election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 19, 2023. (AP)

It wasn’t that Milei was so popular, political experts said. It was that he seems to represent something new, a vote from people desperate for change as inflation has only gotten worse under Massa’s tenure.

“This is a triumph that is less due to Milei and his peculiarities and particularities and more to the demand for change,” said Lucas Romero, who heads the local political consulting firm Synopsis. “What is being expressed at the polls is the weariness, the fatigue, the protest vote of the majority of Argentines.”

Milei started out as a TV pundit and then took his bombastic style to the halls of politics. Also included in his vision of sweeping change is the elimination of Argentina’s ministries of culture, education and diversity, as well as ending public subsidies, according to CNN.

Those are all part of Milei’s “shock therapy” plans for the country, and his rise astonished political pundits.

“Obviously the results are not what we expected. I have contacted Javier Milei to congratulate him,” Massa told Reuters. “From tomorrow the responsibility of providing certainty belongs to Milei.”

With News Wire Services

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