Javier Milei – a far-right admirer of former US President Donald Trump who says climate change is a “socialist lie” and who has promised to take a “chainsaw” approach to social programs – will become Argentina’s next president after a decisive one on Sunday victory has been achieved.
Sergio Massa, Argentine Peronist Economy Minister, suffered a defeat Sunday night to 53-year-old Milei, a radical libertarian economist often called the “Trump of Argentina” who will take office amid a looming recession, triple-digit inflation and a poverty rate of nearly 40% in Latin America’s third-largest economy .
After Massa’s concession speech, Argentine election officials said Milei accounted for nearly 87% of the vote, with 56% and Massa with 44%.
On Sunday, the baseless allegations of voter fraud that Milei’s supporters said cost him the first round of the presidential race disappeared, as did the chainsaw he often used as a prop to show how he would gut social programs.
“No one so extremist on economic issues has ever been elected president of a South American country,” economist Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, warned Friday.
In addition to complaining that socialism “steals the fruits of one person’s labor and giving them to someone else,” Milei also claims that “all policies that blame people for climate change are wrong” and has called for abortion – which was the case legal in Argentina since 2021 – “Murder”.
Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” libertarian, is also an advocate for same-sex marriage, transgender rights and drug legalization.
Referring to former center-right President Mauricio Macri, a Milei supporter, Weisbrot said that “much of the current crisis in Argentina is the result of what happened during it.” [his] management, including unsustainable borrowing coupled with large-scale capital flight, as well as an inflation-devaluation spiral that is taking on a momentum of its own.”
“But a crazy, economically suicidal approach would only make things worse – and as Argentina has experienced, things can get much worse,” he added. “Milei demonstrates a callous disregard for the living standards, values and well-being of most people, as well as an unprecedented commitment to widely discredited economic policies.”
Human rights advocates have also raised alarm over Milei and his Vice President Victoria Villarruel’s open admiration for Argentina’s former U.S.-backed military dictatorship, whose reign of terror and repression lasted from 1976 to 1983.
Massa tried unsuccessfully to distance himself from the highly unpopular outgoing President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a former president sentenced last year full of fraud.
And so the next president of Argentina will now be a man who want wants to legalize the sale of children and human organs, renounces his country’s monetary sovereignty in favor of the US dollar and says he gets political advice from his dead dog.
“God help us all,” an anti-Trump Republican group wrote on social media.