Javier Milei, a populist politician, has emerged as the primary victor in Argentina’s presidential primaries held on Sunday. With approximately 90% of the ballots tallied, Milei had garnered a substantial 30.5% of the total vote.
The result was a blow for the established center-left Peronist coalition and the main Together for Change conservative opposition bloc amid an economic crisis in Argentina with skyrocketing inflation.
Who is Javier Milei?
Milei has positioned himself as a political outsider. An admirer of former US President Donald Trump, he supports the closure of Argentina’s central bank, believes climate change is a hoax and that the sale of human organs should be legal.
He also wants to ease gun regulations in Argentina and replace the peso with the US dollar as the main currency.
After the results were announced he said: “We are the true opposition… A different Argentina is impossible with the same old things that have always failed.”
Milei has been a lawmaker in the lower house of Argentina’s Congress since 2021. He ran unopposed in the primary of his Liberty Advances party.
What the primary result means for the general election in Argentina
In Argentina, voting during the primary elections is obligatory. The primaries are important harbingers of the general election which is to be held on October 22 in the country.
The results of the primary elections suggest voters’ current dissatisfaction with the government and the unpopular President Alberto Fernandez, who is not seeking reelection
“Milei’s growth is a surprise. This speaks of people’s anger with politics,” said former conservative President Mauricio Macri.
The value of the peso has plummeted and annual inflation is running at over 100%.