Argentina elects its first libertarian president

20.11.2023 09:54

Argentina elects its first libertarian president Argentina elects its first libertarian president
Photo: Tomas Cuesta / Getty Images

Libertarian economist Javier Milei was elected to become Argentina’s next president on Sunday.

With 86.59% of the votes counted, Milei won with nearly 56%, while his rival in the runoff, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, received 44%.

Before the official results were announced, Massa conceded defeat in a speech. “The results are not what we expected, and I have contacted Javier Milei to congratulate him and wish him luck,” he said, thanking his supporters.

“I am a man of democracy and I value nothing more than the verdict of the people. I am confident that tomorrow we can start working with Javier Milei to ensure an orderly transition [of power],” President Alberto Fernandez wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Milei, a 53-year-old self-described “anarcho-capitalist” who leads the Liberty Advances party, has been compared to former US President Donald Trump due to his sometimes brash and eccentric personality.

During his campaign, Milei made several radical proposals, including the abolishing of the country’s central bank and swapping the Argentine peso for the US dollar as the country's official currency. He also advocated public spending cuts as a way to fix the economy.

Libertarians typically see government activity as an encroachment on individual freedom and advocate a free market approach coupled with far lower taxes and little or no social spending.  

Voters have been frustrated by a cost-of-living crisis and triple-digit inflation, which over the summer hit its highest level since the early 1990s. A political outsider, Milei has built his appeal around promises to revive the economy, as Argentina is on track to slip into a recession for the sixth time in a decade.