The challenge is clear for libertarian President-elect Javier Milei of Argentina — combat the nation’s runaway inflation. The economic crisis inflicted by years of far-left policies will not be easy to unravel, and the country is in the grip of a national emergency.
Inflation hit 143% and a sweeping recession looms over the South American country. Studies show 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Milei took 56% of the second-round runoff balloting Sunday by promising to tie the nation’s economy to the dollar and close the central bank. This will amount to what his supporters hope will be a shock to the system and revitalization of Argentina’s finances.
When he takes office on Dec. 10, all eyes will be on avoiding a tenth sovereign debt default that could lead to unrest.
Already consumers endure huge price swings and markets that wildly fluctuate. Some experts predict inflation to soar to 185% by year’s end for a country already battered by financial uncertainty.
Meet Javier Milei, the next President of Argentina. He will now be the worlds first Libertarian head of state. The people of Argentina had a choice between a far left economy minister who’s destroying the country or a Libertarian ready to fix the country.
Currently Argentina… pic.twitter.com/AQIjGIpv6g
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) November 20, 2023
The central bank tried to offset inflation by raising the benchmark interest rate to 133%. This radical shift attempted to push savings in pesos but stifled access to credit and business investment, leading to economic stagnation.
The hope of the nation now rests on the world’s first elected libertarian head of state. With Milei taking 20 of 23 provinces, his conservative message obviously resonated with Argentina’s beleaguered voters.
Addressing his supporters, the president-elect declared the nation’s situation had reached a critical phase. “The changes that our country needs are drastic, there is no room for gradualism, there is no room for lukewarmness, there is no room for half measures.”
Milei told an enthusiastic throng that the days of the “omnipresent state” are over. This model, he said, serves to benefit the few while most of Argentina suffers.
He added that “the idea that the state resources are loot to be shared between politicians and their friends” is over.
Milei won a crushing victory over Peronista candidate Sergio Massa. With 99.3% of the ballots counted, the libertarian held 55.7% of the total to only 44.3% for Massa.
Some have referred to the victorious Milei as the “Argentine Trump.”