ARGENTINA : Trump-like Javier Milei won 56% of the vote, and 20 of 23 Argentine provinces, in decisive win over Economy Minister Sergio Massa
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – How can the current economy minister of a nation with 140% inflation and 40% living below the poverty line win a presidential election? It turns out that he can’t, at least not in Argentina.
Libertarian outsider congressman and economist Javier Milei, of the Liberty Advances party, won a decisive victory tonight over the establishment’s center-left candidate, the Peronista Sergio Massa, calling on the country to adopt serious reforms:
Addressing supporters Milei said, “The situation in Argentina is critical. 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.”
Directly taking on the nation’s establishment, he charged, “Today the impoverishing model of the omnipresent state ends, which only benefits some while the majority of Argentines suffer. Today the idea that the state resources are loot to be shared between politicians and their friends end.”
Recognizing the grand challenge ahead, Milei called on the people of Argentina to join him, but explicitly within the context of the rule of law:
“In short, whenever you want to join the change that Argentina needs, you will be welcome. We know that there are people who are going to resist. We know that there are people who want to maintain this system…I want to say the following to all of them: within the law everything, outside the law nothing. There is no place in the new Argentina for violence, or for lawbreaking.”
With 99.3% of the votes counted, Milei stood at 55.7% versus 44.3% for Massa. While Massa won the vote-rich province of Buenos Aires by a little over 1%, Milei won the city proper of Buenos Aires, and then crushed Massa in the vote-rich northern provinces of Cordoba, Santa Fe, and Mendoza.
Milei enjoyed a slight lead in the polls heading into the final week of the election, but political analysts noted that Milei had significantly underperformed in the first round election last month. While expected to win, Milei only won 30% of the vote in the first round, to Massa’s nearly 37%. Former center-right Security Minister Patricia Bullrich placed third with 24% of the vote.
Thus, Milei’s critical mission was to consolidate the support of first-round Bullrich voters. Polls showed that he was likely to win 70-75% of Bullrich supporters, while splitting backers of fourth-place Cordoba governor Juan Schiaretti 50/50 with Massa. Milei appears to have not merely met, but exceeded, those expectations.]
Anger over rampant inflation, poverty, insecurity, and corruption within the ranks of the Peronist party clearly trumped the institutional advantages of Massa, who counted on vast state resources and the enormous and powerful Peronist political machinery to mobilize masses of supporters. That includes an enormous number of unionized workers, in both the public and private sectors, who tend to lean left; indeed, 40% of Argentinian workers are unionized, compared to only 11% in the United States.
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