June 22, 2024

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Radical libertarian Javier Milei elected president of Argentina

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Javier Milei, a radical libertarian economist and first-term congressman, has secured a decisive victory in Argentina’s presidential elections, defeating economy minister Sergio Massa and pulling the country’s politics far to the right amid its worst crisis in two decades.

With 93.4 per cent of votes counted, Milei had won 55.8 per cent, against 44.2 per cent for Massa, according to the electoral commission. Pollsters had predicted a very closely fought election.

Before the official results were published, Massa, who hails from the moderate wing of the ruling, left-leaning populist Peronist movement, announced that he had called Milei to concede.

He added that the two had spoken and come to agreements about the transition that would take place ahead of Milei’s December 10 inauguration to ensure that “no one has any doubts about the . . . economic, social, political and institutional functioning of Argentina”.

Milei’s campaign centred on a pledge to take a “chainsaw” to the state — slashing spending by up to 15 per cent of gross domestic product — and to dollarise the economy to stamp out inflation. Argentina’s annual price rises hit 142.7 per cent in October.

Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist”, has stirred controversy throughout the campaign, expressing support for ideas such as legalising the sale of human organs and eliminating all gun laws. 

He also referred to China, Argentina’s largest trading partner, as “murderous”, the Argentine Pope Francis as “a filthy leftist”, and climate change as “a socialist hoax”.

However, Milei has walked back several of those statements in an effort to win over centrist voters in the weeks following October’s first round vote. He was aided by endorsements from former president Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullirch, the candidate for centre-right coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC), who was eliminated in the first round with 24 per cent of the vote.

The win for Milei, a former…



2023-11-19 19:37:11

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