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Elections

Far-right leader Javier Milei wins Argentina's presidential election

IANS | November 20, 2023 10:15 AM

BUENOS: Javier Milei has won Argentina's presidential elections in provisional results, wrenching his country to the right with a bombastic anti-establishment campaign against the backdrop of one of the world's highest inflation rates, the media reported.

His rival Sergio Massa conceded the run-off vote on Sunday evening in a brief speech even before official results were announced, CNN reported.

"Milei is the president elected for the next four years, " said Massa, adding that he had already called Milei to congratulate him.

Provisional results so far show Milei with over 55 per cent of votes (13, 781, 154) with more than 94 per cent of votes counted, according to data from the country's National Electoral Chamber, which has not yet declared an official winner.

Milei's victory marks an extraordinary rise for the former TV pundit, who entered the race as a political outsider on a promise to "break up with the status quo" -- exemplified by Sergio Massa, CNN reported.

His campaign promise to dollarise Argentina, if enacted, is expected to thrust the country into new territory: no country of Argentina's size has previously turned over the reins of its own monetary policy to Washington decisionmakers.

Milei has also said he would slash government spending by closing Argentina's ministries of culture, education, and diversity, and by eliminating public subsidies. He is a social conservative with ties to the American right; he opposes abortion rights and has called climate change a "lie of socialism".

Milei's win will be closely scrutinised around the world as a potential sign of a resurgence of far-right populism. Milei has ties to the American right, and former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had endorsed Milei's candidacy.

Public opinion polls had shown the two candidates neck-and-neck in recent weeks, CNN reported.

Massa is a lifelong politician whose candidacy in contrast with Milei's had come to represent Argentina's political establishment. Inflation has reached painful heights during his tenture -- 142 per cent year-on-year, but Massa sought to argue that the government's current actions were already paying dividends, with inflation for the month of October 35 per cent lower than in September -- an argument that appears to have failed to convince voters exhausted by a cost-of-living crisis.

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