Javier Milei has won Argentina’s presidential elections in provisional results, wrenching his country to the right with a bombastic anti-establishment campaign, against the backdrop of one of the world’s highest inflation rates.
His rival Sergio Massa conceded the run-off vote on Sunday evening in a brief speech even before official results were announced.
“Milei is the president elected for the next 4 years,” said Massa, adding that he had already called Milei to congratulate him.
Milei’s victory marks an extraordinary rise for the former TV pundit, who entered the race as a political outsider on a promise to “break up with the status quo” – exemplified by Sergio Massa.
His campaign promise to dollarize Argentina, if enacted, is expected to thrust the country into new territory: no country of Argentina’s size has previously turned over the reins of its own monetary policy to Washington decisionmakers.
Milei has also said he would slash government spending by closing Argentina’s ministries of culture, education, and diversity, and by eliminating public subsidies. He is a social conservative with ties to the American right; he opposes abortion rights and has called climate change a “lie of socialism.”
Milei’s victory will be closely scrutinized around the world as a potential sign of a resurgence of far-right populism. Milei has ties to the American right, and former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had endorsed Milei’s candidacy
Public opinion polls had shown the two candidates neck-and-neck in recent weeks.
Massa is a lifelong politician whose candidacy in contrast with Milei’s had come to represent Argentina’s political establishment. While inflation has reached painful heights – 142% year on year – during his tenure, Massa sought to argue that the government’s current actions are already paying dividends, with inflation for the month of October 35% lower than in September.