Argentina election won by far-right populist Javier Milei 

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By LatAm Reports Editor

In a decisive victory, libertarian Javier Milei has been elected as Argentina’s new president, promising to reverse the country’s long-standing economic troubles. Garnering 55.7% of the vote, Milei notably defeated Economy Minister Sergio Massa, who quickly acknowledged his loss after securing 44% of the vote. In his victory speech, Milei proclaimed the beginning of Argentina’s resurgence and the end of its prolonged economic downturn, declaring an irreversible change from past policies.

Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy, has experienced recurrent crises under governments known for their interventionist policies and reliance on welfare. These administrations have often resorted to printing money to fund their spending, a practice that has fueled rampant inflation. Additionally, the nation has a history of heavy borrowing and subsequent debt defaults. The Argentine peso is under stringent control, leading to a significant black market for the US dollar, with analysts predicting an imminent devaluation.

Milei, 53, an economist known for his distinct appearance and fiery rhetoric, has drawn comparisons to former US Presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. His victory was acknowledged by both ex-presidents, as well as by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who expressed their intentions to work with the new Argentine administration.

Central to Milei’s campaign is a radical economic strategy that involves adopting the US dollar in place of the struggling peso and dismantling the Central Bank to eradicate inflation. However, experts caution that Argentina’s low dollar reserves may delay this transition.

Milei, a controversial figure, has made headlines for his opposition to abortion, plans to sever ties with major trade partners like China and Brazil, and for his contentious statements regarding Pope Francis, Argentina’s dictatorial past, and climate change. His dramatic campaign tactics included brandishing a chainsaw on stage.

As Milei prepares to assume office on December 10, leaving Massa to manage the economy for the next three weeks, financial analysts anticipate a turbulent period ahead, particularly for the tightly regulated peso. Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington sees Argentina’s election result as part of a broader regional trend towards political outsiders with strong anti-establishment messages gaining power.