Following a highly polarized election campaign marked by deep discontent over skyrocketing inflation and rising poverty, right-wing populist Javier Milei emerged victorious and will take office as Argentina’s next president, promising a drastic overhaul of the government.
According to Argentina’s electoral authority, Milei had 55.8% of the 97.6% of the total counted in Sunday’s presidential runoff vote, and Economy Minister Sergio Massa had 44.2%. If that margin holds true, it will be the largest since Argentina restored democracy in 1983 and larger than any pollster’s prediction.
Conceding defeat, Massa of the ruling Peronist party congratulated Milei, an anarcho-capitalist who has often been compared to the late US President Donald Trump.
In the event that Milei wins, the nation will shift to the right and support a new lawmaker who began his career as a talk show host on television and criticised the “political caste.”
During Massa’s tenure, poverty increased and inflation reached over 140%. Milei has suggested cutting back on state spending and controlling inflation, but the government minister he was challenging had cautioned about the unfavourable effects of such measures. Many were forced to choose which of the two candidates they thought the better option was because of the election.
During his campaign, Massa warned Argentines that the libertarian opponent’s proposal to drastically cut back on state spending and eliminate important ministries could jeopardise public services such as health and education as well as welfare programmes that many depend on. Additionally, Massa called attention to his opponent’s frequently combative language and publicly questioned his mental clarity; Milei occasionally carried a chainsaw at rallies prior to the first round.