The Argentine presidential race is going down to the wire.
Libertarian economist Javier Milei has shaken up the political scene in Argentina by using provocative rhetoric and pointed attacks on socialism.
Argentinians cast their ballots on Sunday evening. While the outcome was undecided, it was obvious that Milei would be a strong competitor, and he did not let everyone down. His backers expected him to deliver a knockout blow to the establishment candidate of the left, Sergio Massa. However, the final tally did not yet confirm their hopes to be rid of a socialist regime that has wrecked the nation’s economy.
The two candidates will now compete in a runoff election next month.
Javier Milei addressed his supporters after the election:
“We are truly facing a historic time,” Milei said. “This is the product of the efforts of thousands of people throughout the entire country who have worked to push the ideas of freedom with all their strength.”
“We are facing a truly historic achievement,” he added.
“We are contesting power and the worst thing that happen to modern democracy,” he said.
“Doing the best libertarian campaign in the history of Argentina, it is something that fills us deeply with pride,” he remarked.
According to Argentine law, a candidate for president must get either 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent of the vote with a 10-point advantage over the runner-up in the first round of voting. Massa has a narrow 6-point advantage against Milei.
Massa and Milei will renew their efforts to win over voters as the campaign season heats up. Many Argentinians are unhappy with their government, a fact that Milei has used to his advantage in advocating for free markets, the reduction of state agencies, and reduced taxes. This election is shaping up to be a close one.
Third-placed candidate Patricia Bullrich did not have many kind things to say about the leader.
Were Bullrich to publicly back Milei, what would the outcome be? The libertarian candidate’s chances of beating Massa would greatly improve if the majority of her followers voted for him.
Those who were hoping for the world’s first libertarian president may be disappointed that Milei did not win easily on Sunday. Given that the establishment, including major media outlets, appears to be terrified at the prospect that Milei could become the next president, it is certainly possible that some in Argentina “overinflated Milei’s chances in this election to try to scare people off from voting for him,” as RedState’s Jennifer Van Laar speculated. In spite of this, Van Laar said, “only 36% like the current regime and 54% voted against it,” which he concluded was excellent news for Milei’s chances.
Although he despises the nickname “the Argentine Trump,” Milei has often been compared to the controversial business mogul. Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro strongly supports Milei, despite their ideological disagreements. Both men have been vocal in their opposition to the dictatorships in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, reflecting a shared antipathy for socialism and Communism.
The Peronist party has held power in Argentina for decades, and the Kirchner family has ruled the country for the last 25 years. Massa, a member of the Peronist coalition’s most moderate faction, was seen as the party’s greatest hope for survival.
However, the fact that the Argentine economy is in shambles has been a bit of an albatross around his neck in his present position directing the administration’s economic strategy. At slightly over a third of the vote, he did better than many had predicted, which may be indicative of the staying power of the Peronist movement in the country.
Massa’s campaign has been floundering, so Brazilian President Lula da Silva recently sent a top team of campaign strategists and media professionals to help him out.
Analysts will undoubtedly wonder why Argentine voters didn’t show more discontent with the governing party despite the country’s economy collapsing and inflation nearing 140 percent.
The people of Argentina may now choose between two candidates that couldn’t be more different from one another: Massa, who represents the status quo, and Milei, who is a free-market, anti-establishment outsider.