Argentina has elected a right-wing populist, Javier Milei, known as “el Loco” (the Madman) as its new president.
Milei, a self-described anarcho-capitalist who has been compared to former United States President, Donald Trump, promised to deal with Argentina’s soaring inflation and rising poverty.
“The model of decadence has come to an end, there’s no going back,” Milei said in a defiant speech after winning 56 per cent of the vote against 44 per cent for his rival, economy minister Sergio Massa, who conceded on Sunday.
It was the widest victory margin in a presidential race since the South American country returned to democracy in 1983.
“We have monumental problems ahead: inflation, lack of work, and poverty. The situation is critical and there is no place for tepid half-measures,” he added.
Annual inflation hit 142.7 per cent in Argentina in October – with the monthly rise landing at 8.3 per cent, although that was down from peaks in August and September.
Milei’s plans to fix the economy include shutting the central bank, ditching the peso, and slashing spending.
The 53-year-old economist and former TV pundit is staunchly anti-abortion, opposes sex education in schools, and favours looser gun laws.
According to Sky News, he used to carry a chainsaw at his rallies as a symbol of his planned cuts.
Milei favours stronger ties with the U.S. and has criticised China and Brazil, saying he won’t deal with “communists”.
Despite that, Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, wished Milei luck and success, adding that it was important democracy was respected.
Trump also congratulated Milei on his victory on Truth Social, writing: “The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you.
“You will turn your Country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!”
However, Colombia’s leftist President, Gustavo Petro, said it was a “sad day” for the region.