A populist economist has won Argentina’s presidential primary, opening the way for him to compete in the country’s general election in October, according to results reported on Monday.
Javier Milei, who represents the Argentine capital Buenos Aires in parliament, is running for president on a populist platform that Latin Americans have compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump. On Sunday, Milei placed first in the country’s presidential jungle-primary election with 30% of the vote, which makes him the frontrunner to win the presidency on Oct. 22, according to Reuters.
“A different Argentina is impossible with the same old people, with the same people who have been failing for over a hundred years,” Milei said in a victory speech, adding that his right-wing “Liberty Advances” represented the future of Argentine politics, the BBC reported. “We are the most-voted political force because we are the real opposition, the ones who want real change.”
Argentina’s first round of its presidential election has been won by Javier Milei (@JMilei), an anarchocapitalist and leader of the Liberty Advances coalition.
He has run on a platform of slashing the size and cost of government.
Argentina may soon have a libertarian President. pic.twitter.com/IJbFAdjozM
— Spike Cohen (@RealSpikeCohen) August 14, 2023
Milei has attracted international attention for his affinity with nationalist and populist ideas, including those espoused by conservative politicians in the United States. He has called sex education “a plot to destroy the family,” according to The Associated Press, and has promised to shut down the country’s Ministry of Women, Genders, and Diversity.
Milei has also endorsed civil gun ownership in Argentina, claimed that climate change is a falsehood and signed onto a document, the Madrid Charter, accusing all left-wing parties in Latin America of being part of a criminal conspiracy funded by Cuba’s Communist Party. Milei has attracted attention for his position on abortion.
“Murder can never be justified,” Milei said in response to whether he would permit an abortion for a 10-year-old girl pregnant as a result of rape, according to comments to El Destape. “[T]he word ‘murder’ [is] uncomfortable for those who worship a gender ideology. They are denying the fact that an abortion is a murder aggravated by the bond … Liberalism respects everyone’s right to life and abortion is an attack on life. Life is a continuum that ends with death.”
“Milei is much more amicable for the West, especially the United States, and a sworn enemy of Latin America’s leftist governments,” said Daniel Di Martino, a Fellow of the Manhattan Institute to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “He might be unorthodox in his speech but he’s genuine, consistent, and an outsider, that’s what many Argentinians want and probably what they need.”
Argentina is currently suffering from an economic crisis, with the third-highest annual inflation in the world at 142% and a contraction in Gross Domestic Product of 2.3% this year, Reuters reported. Milei has called for dramatic reforms to the country’s economy, such as abolishing the Central Bank of Argentina and revoking the currency in favor of the U.S. dollar, the AP reported.
Describing his political ideology, Milei once said that “My alignment with Bolsonaro and Trump is almost natural.” Milei is under investigation by a federal prosecutor on corruption charges, which Milei has called a “smear campaign,” Yahoo! reported.
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