Argentina has elected a far-right libertarian, Javier Milei, as its new president, leading the country into an unpredictable and potentially turbulent future. With nearly 90% of votes counted, Milei secured almost 56% of the vote compared to his rival’s 44.1%. The victory of this TV celebrity-turned politician, often compared to Donald Trump, has raised concerns about the direction Argentina will take under his leadership.
In a press conference, Milei’s opponent, the centre-left finance minister Sergio Massa, conceded defeat and congratulated him on his victory. Massa acknowledged that the majority of Argentines had chosen Milei as their president for the next four years. This outcome has disappointed many who had hoped for a different path.
Milei’s supporters see him as an economic visionary who can lead Argentina out of its worst economic crisis in decades. However, this victory also raises concerns about the potential repercussions on the economy. The peso is expected to tumble against the dollar, and more economic pain may follow. Yet, many believe there is no other option but to trust Milei to navigate the dire situation.
During his campaign, Milei pledged to abolish the central bank and dollarise the economy in order to tackle the financial calamity that has pushed inflation to over 140% and left 40% of the population in poverty. His victory has been celebrated by far-right figures, including Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro, who has promised to attend Milei’s inauguration.
Leftwing opponents, on the other hand, have reacted with shock and dejection to the election of a notoriously erratic figure. Milei’s radical ideas, such as legalizing the sale of organs and cutting ties with major trade partners, have fueled concerns about the direction Argentina will take. Additionally, his controversial positions on Argentina’s past, including questioning the crimes committed during the military regime in the 1970s, have further divided the population.
Experts warn that Milei’s victory represents a gamble, driven by desperation. Argentina’s citizens, recognizing the catastrophic state of the country, voted against their economic interests in the hope for change. However, the election of such a radical and inexperienced political outsider brings uncertainties and risks. There are concerns that Milei’s attempt to radically transform the economy could lead to massive social unrest, national strikes, and potential political violence.
In conclusion, Argentina’s presidential election has ushered in a new era filled with uncertainty and potential challenges. It remains to be seen how Milei’s vision will unfold and whether it will lead to real progress or further turmoil.