Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” has promised to cut public spending by 15 percent and abolish the central bank.
Argentina has elected libertarian Javier Milei as its next president, taking a chance on the eccentric economist’s radical economic reform program after decades of stagnation.
Milei’s victory on Sunday heralds a dramatic restructuring of the Latin American country’s economy and institutions amid public anger over high inflation and record poverty rates under the center-left Peronist coalition.
Economy Minister Sergio Massa admitted defeat as provisional results showed Milei with 56 percent of the vote to his 44 percent, with almost 90 percent of the votes counted.
“Obviously the results are not what we expected, and I have spoken with Javier Milei to congratulate him and wish him the best, because he is the president that the majority of Argentines have elected for the next four years,” said Massa.
Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” has promised a series of radical reforms, including reducing public spending by 15 percent, abolishing the central bank and switching from the Argentine peso to the US dollar.
The 53-year-old political maverick, whose abrasive style has drawn comparisons to former US President Donald Trump, has also taken conservative positions on social issues, opposing abortion and sex education, and criticizing political correctness.
He also questioned the death toll under Argentina’s dictatorship, attacked Pope Francis and denied that humans are responsible for climate change.
Milei’s fiery speeches against the “thieving and corrupt political class” struck a chord with Argentines, particularly young men, amid growing poverty and triple-digit inflation in the crisis-ridden Latin American country. economy in crisis for decades.
“Money covers less every day,” Esteban Medina, a 26-year-old physical therapist from Ezeiza, told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a Milei rally earlier this week.
“I am a qualified person and my salary is not enough for anything.”
Milei will face a daunting array of challenges when he takes office on Dec. 10, including government coffers in the red, a $44 billion debt program with the International Monetary Fund and inflation approaching 150 percent.