What once was thought to be impossible has just come true: Argentina has just witnessed a huge shift in its politics after the landslide victory of libertarian populist Javier Milei for the presidency.
With almost all votes tallied, Milei won 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent against Economy Minister Sergio Massa who conceded even before official results were announced. This marks the first time an outsider has been elected to lead Argentina and is a sign of discontentment with the ruling class and status quo from Argentines.
Milei’s pledge for change resonated with Argentines weary of soaring annual inflation rates above 140 percent and 40 percent poverty rate, which he promised to address with policies such as slashing government spending, dollarizing the economy and eliminating Central Bank and key ministries including Health and Education.
His fiery rhetoric denouncing “political caste” on television programs undoubtedly contributed to his success alongside his admiration for former U.S President Donald Trump’s crusade against global socialism; something that seemed nearly impossible just months ago is now reality for Argentina.
The wide margin of his victory reflects this widespread support for such promises.
Argentina's new President is Javier Milei. A classical -liberal he is smeared as far-right by socialists.
An aficionado of Milton Friedman & Friedrich Von Hayek the chainsaw is a euphemism for cutting the size of govt.
What's the weather like in Buenos Aires this time of year? pic.twitter.com/IxAgw6iTaI
— David Atherton (@DaveAtherton20) November 20, 2023
Supporters celebrated Sunday night, November 19, outside Milei’s headquarters in downtown Buenos Aires chanting his name as fireworks went off overhead waving Argentine flags along with yellow Gadsden flag sporting “Don’t Tread on Me” which was adopted by Milei’s movement. Ayalen Abalos, a 22-year-old tourism student expressed faith in him saying “I hope he can fulfill everything he proposed without obstacles”.
However implementing this agenda might be one of his main challenges given little prior leadership experience and zero governors belonging to Liberty Advances party; Mariel Fornoni from Management & Fit calls it “a collective construction, not just his alone” requiring political allies too depending on how much support people show him in coming days.
It looks like change is on its way—but only time will tell what kind.